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Jamey Duesterhaus has grown PhytoGen® cottonseed since 2017 on irrigated and dryland acres near Littlefield in the Texas Panhandle. Following the 2016 season, he says he was looking for varieties to help control the resistant weed species in his fields. The PhytoGen Breeding Traits™ that would protect his cotton from root-knot nematodes and verticillium wilt also piqued his interest.
“After we planted in 2017, we noticed improved seedling vigor and better emergence than what we had seen from other cotton varieties on the market,” Duesterhaus says. “This is crucial to us on the High Plains where our planting window is about a month and can sometimes be reduced to 2½ to three weeks because of moisture conditions and soil temperatures.
“If we plant a cottonseed that is ready to come out of the ground and start growing, we are off to a better start. The PhytoGen varieties are consistent. When 2018 came around, we were much more confident that PhytoGen was what we wanted to plant, and in 2019, we were convinced it was the way to go.”
Thriving in Spite of Perfect Storm
This past season, Duesterhaus planted two mid- to fullseason PhytoGen brand varieties on his dryland acres and PHY 300 W3FE, PHY 350 W3FE and PHY 250 W3FE on his irrigated ground. The Texas farmer describes May as cool, wet and plagued by hailstorms. Adverse weather led to replanting much of his acreage. On those acres, Duesterhaus planted PHY 250 W3FE, which is an early maturing variety with high yield potential.
As 2019 progressed, conditions that started off cool and wet ended up hot and dry. Duesterhaus says his cotton was subjected to hot nights as well. This was unusual since High Plains’ nights typically are cooler than most of Texas because of the area’s elevation. And to top off everything, the season finished with an earlier-than-normal freeze that began to shut down the plants.
“We had every calamity imaginable thrown at us last year,” Duesterhaus says. “Our yields were off, but the grade and quality of the PhytoGen cotton was almost unbelievable. I had one dryland field of PHY 350 W3FE that received absolutely no rain and had a disappointing loan value, but all the other fields were above 50 cents.
“My highest dryland loan value was 54 cents. My lowest irrigated loan value was 53 cents on PHY 250 W3FE, and my highest irrigated loan value was 57 cents on PHY 350 W3FE. The quality was there. It was a blessing from God in 2019.”
Complete Set of Benefits
After looking at the PhytoGen brand varieties for the past three years, Duesterhaus says he plans to stick with them.
“To me, PhytoGen always has a variety that fits,” he says. “If you want to swing for the fence, they have that. If you want a variety that can hang on to get to the next rain or until your pivot makes another pass or until you get back to those zones with subsurface irrigation, they have PHY 350 W3FE.”
Duesterhaus likes the whole package PhytoGen delivers — yield, quality and protection from root-knot nematodes and verticillium wilt that comes with PhytoGen Breeding Traits.
He depends on WideStrike® 3 Insect Protection to keep worm pressure off the cotton and the Enlist™ weed control system to take out resistant weed species. After applying a preemergence herbicide at the beginning of the season, Duesterhaus comes back with a tank mix of Enlist One® herbicide and glufosinate or glyphosate, depending on the field’s weed spectrum.
“Based on what I have seen over the past few years on both irrigated and dryland ground, I think my return on investment is high,” he says. “That’s what makes me want to keep planting PhytoGen varieties.”
™ ® Trademarks of Dow AgroSciences, DuPont or Pioneer, and their affiliated companies or their respective owners. The Enlist weed control system is owned and developed by Dow AgroSciences LLC. PhytoGen Seed Company is a joint venture between Mycogen Corporation, an affiliate of Dow AgroSciences LLC, and the J.G. Boswell Company.