Mark Yeager, along with his sons Mark Jr. and Joe, grows cotton and corn at Red Land Farms in north Alabama. He also is owner/operator of Yeager Gin and in partnership with his daughter Anna Yeager Brakefield in Red Land Cotton, a textile enterprise specializing in high-quality cotton home offerings. Yeager has very high standards for the cottonseed varieties he plants. Here Yeager recounts his experience with PhytoGen® brand PHY 444 WRF.
“In 2015, I planted four sacks of PHY 444 WRF, which covered about 20 acres. In 2016, I planted 600 acres to this variety and then planted 1,600 acres of PHY 444 WRF in 2017.
“PHY 444 WRF is the most amazing grading cotton I have ever seen in my life. The staples are running 38, 39 and 40. The strength is up there around 32, and the uniformity is high. And if you are patient with defoliation, the micronaire will be fine. The grades I am seeing with PHY 444 WRF are a good fit for my textile business, which requires a high level of quality.
When I put 5,500 bales on a recap, I want buyers to say, ‘I want that lot of cotton.’
The excellent fiber quality with PHY 444 WRF gives me something I can negotiate with. You can’t negotiate with a bunch of light spots and 34 staple. But the long staple, good strength and good micronaire I get with PHY 444 WRF give me bargaining power. I also can get about 58-cent loan value with PHY 444 WRF, which is a 6-cent premium for this high-quality Upland cotton.
“When choosing a variety, I look at yield, too, and shoot for about 1,000 pounds per acre. I am not in 1,400-pounds-per-acre country. In 2016, I thought a stretch of dry weather had shut the cotton down. But after getting some rain, PHY 444 WRF caught a second wind and still picked well over 1,000 pounds.
“I hope the new lines from the 444 background that are coming out with the WideStrike 3 and Enlist traits have the same high quality as PHY 444 WRF. I’ve been happy with the PhytoGen cotton I’ve planted so far. That’s for sure.”