• SPONSORED CONTENT •
Ralph Gilkey grows PhytoGen® brand Pima varieties on 100 percent of his cotton acres. He recounts his experience with the exceptional fiber quality that helps him thrive and results in a beautiful finished product. A percentage of the PhytoGen brand Pima cotton grown on Gilkey Five goes into PimaCott merchandise. This brand prides itself on being “the only Pima cotton that can be forensically tracked and traced back to the source.”“M y grandfather, Ralph G. Gilkey, settled in this area in the early 1920s, established the family farm and built a saw gin here in 1962. We added a roller gin to the plant in 1999. My father, Don, passed away in 2009, so now my brothers, Kirk and Matt, my cousin, Steve, and I operate the ranch.
“Our family is also the managing partner of Cross Creek Ginning Co. Operating the gin allows us to watch the process and make adjustments, so the final product is the way we want it and the way the consumer wants it.
“We have had PhytoGen varieties on our ranch for 20-plus years, and today we plant 100 percent PhytoGen Pima cotton. I prefer the PhytoGen varieties because of their excellent fiber quality. Last year, I planted PHY 881 RF and PHY 841 RF. They are both good varieties, but I really like PHY 881 RF because it does well in our heavy clay loam soil under a furrow irrigation system.
“The Roundup Ready component has saved us a tremendous amount of money in labor costs incurred for manual weeding. This year, we intend to plant all our acres in PHY 881 RF because it slightly outperformed the PHY 841 RF. Agronomically, it’s all about water management.
“A percentage of our PhytoGen Pima cotton goes into PimaCott products. At the gin, we inject the cotton with a DNA marker applied as a mist to every inch of the bale. This technology allows the cotton to be traced from the field to the finished product to prove it is 100 percent Pima. PimaCott sets high standards, and our goal is to grow the crop to the best of our ability to avoid discounts.
“To me, the PhytoGen Pima varieties are the ultimate product. I will continue to plant them because PhytoGen does extensive research to make sure its varieties are tested and proven, which always makes us look good.”