Yield is paramount in PhytoGen® brand varieties and is what makes cotton growers thrive. PhytoGen cottonseed also has many traits to help farmers protect that yield.
Even so, in the western Oklahoma Panhandle, Mother Nature can wreak havoc on a cotton crop during the season. For the Isaacs — Russell, wife Alice, and father Richard, who farm near Turpin — a seed brand that hangs tough through the more challenging years is appreciated.
“We planted PhytoGen brand PHY 350 W3FE for the first time in 2018,” Russell says. “Seedling vigor and strong emergence are big factors for us in choosing a variety. Consistent seed quality translates to consistency in plants in the field. A good stand is key if you are going for that ‘big boy’ cotton. PHY 350 W3FE pops out of the ground, squares fast and pumps out the yield.
“Our area has a short growing season for cotton, so we push the envelope and plant based on the five-day forecast instead of soil temperature. When we see some warm days coming, we plant the day before to get as much seed in the ground as we can to take advantage of the heat. We plant shallow because the top of the soil profile warms up fast in the mornings.”
Perfect Season for ‘Big Boy’ Yields
The Isaacs’ typical yield expectation is 2,000 pounds per acre on irrigated ground.
“We have a short window to fruit and make bolls,” Russell says. “PHY 350 W3FE has consistently done it for us. This variety is like the pretty girl at the dance.”
In 2018, the cotton in one of the Isaacs’ PHY 350 W3FE irrigated fields came up all at once to a perfect stand with great spacing. Every plant was at the same stage.
“At 5-leaf cotton, our consultant, Marc Voth, called it,” Russell says. “He said, ‘This is our field.’ It was a good growing season for cotton, and Marc managed it like we were going for the big yield. We had made 4-bale-per-acre cotton the year before and were now shooting for 5 bales.
“While we were doing boll counts in mid- to late September, Marc said, ‘I think we are going to get there.’ When I pulled in with the stripper and had made a module before getting to the pivot, I thought we might have done it. But you never know for sure until the cotton is ginned.
“Once we got the numbers back and saw we had reached 5 bales per acre on that field, we were excited. It was an incredible year. We had a lot of good cotton.”
Team Approach to a Common Goal
Being this far north, a big hurdle for the Isaacs is maturing cotton.
“We have to do our part, but the PhytoGen breeders have done the rest to get the yields and quality we need,” Russell says. “In 2019, we had the best quality with PHY 350 W3FE we’ve ever had — upper 56s, almost 57. That’s pretty good!”
In 2020, the combination of 70 mph winds in June and a cold snap in September tried to put a damper on yields and quality. However, there were some bright spots, and the Isaacs are enthusiastic about the upcoming season.
“Right now, we are in the process of making our variety decisions,” Russell says. “We are still going through the data, but we know we will plant PHY 350 W3FE again. We also are looking at one of the new PhytoGen brand varieties — PHY 332 W3FE.
“I love raising cotton, and we consider the PhytoGen team part of our team. We need trusted partners, and we see PhytoGen striving to deliver consistency. That’s something we can go the long haul with.”