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Evaluate Fields At Harvest To Help With Next Season’s Variety Selection

root-knot nematodes

Root-knot nematodes can significant reduce yields in infested fields planted to varieties without RKN resistance — photo courtesy Texas A&M

At harvest, cotton growers learn how much yield-robbing diseases and pests affected fiber production. This knowledge helps determine the best varieties to plant next season.

Diseases such as bacterial blight and Verticillium wilt are not controlled by in-season crop protection products. That means cottonseed varieties with built-in protection offer the best line of defense for top yield and quality potential.

PhytoGen Breeding Traits offer built-in protection against some of the most common pests and diseases in cotton. All PhytoGen W3FE varieties are resistant to bacterial blight. Additional protection from root-knot nematodes and Verticillium wilt is available in select Upland varieties. All PhytoGen Pima varieties provide tolerance to Fusarium (FOV) Race 4.

“With PhytoGen Breeding Traits, growers get the assurance that their yield potential is protected, especially against diseases where crop protection products may not be effective,” says Ken Legé, PhytoGen cotton development specialist in West Texas. “PhytoGen Breeding Traits enable growers to have peace of mind with regard to disease and nematode pests. These traits allow growers to focus on other management decisions, such as irrigation or plant growth regulator programs.”

Yield-Robbing Bacterial Blight

These diseases and pests can have significant impact on profitability. Bacterial blight infestations can start small – one infected seed out of 6,000 is enough to foster an outbreak. According to Cotton Incorporated, a major bacterial blight outbreak could lower yields as much as 5 to 20 percent in fields with heavy infestations.

Extension services recommend growers consider resistant varieties to mitigate damage of in-season pests. For example, the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension says numerous factors go into variety selection, but varieties resistant to bacterial blight or RKN should be considered, especially for fields with past problems.

PhytoGen Tops RKN-Resistant Varieties

phytogen 480 sign

PhytoGen brand PHY 480 W3FE was among the top varieties in 2017 Texas A&M RKN variety trials with the fewest nematodes per 500 cubic centimeters of soil in a combined analysis.

Some in-season management options are available for pests such as RKN, but PhytoGen Breeding Traits provide season-long protection without the added cost of crop protection applications. Jason Woodward, PhytoGen cotton development specialist in the Mid-Atlantic, says this is a major benefit for a farmer’s bottom line.

“PhytoGen Breeding Traits provide protection against pests and diseases so producers have one less thing to worry about during the season,” Woodward says. “These traits help producers achieve maximum yield and quality potential.”

The benefits of controlling diseases and pests often continue beyond the current season. Woodward studied the efficacy of RKN-resistant cotton varieties in his previous position as Extension plant pathologist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. He confirmed that two-gene RKN-resistant varieties, such as PHY 480 W3FE, conferred residual payoffs for future seasons.

“With two-gene RKN resistance, one of the genes helps with reduced root galling and the other gene helps with a decrease in reproduction,” Woodward says. “So it’s a twofold effect that reduces damage and nematode reproduction. Over time, you can decrease the RKN populations in a field, which helps maximize production in the long term.”

In 2017 Texas A&M RKN variety trials at Brownfield, Locketville and Seminole, the top five varieties with fewest nematodes per 500 cubic centimeters of soil in the combined analysis were all from PhytoGen. This included the top variety, PhytoGen brand PHY 480 W3FE. View the Texas A&M results by clicking here.

In addition to PhytoGen Breeding Traits, PhytoGen W3FE varieties feature advanced trait technologies such as WideStrike 3 Insect Protection and the Enlist cotton trait. These traits protect the high yield potential and excellent fiber quality of PhytoGen cottonseed from insects and weeds.

For more information about PhytoGen Breeding Traits or PhytoGen brand varieties for your farm, contact your local PhytoGen territory manager or PhytoGen cotton development specialist, or visit the website at PhytoGen.com.

PhytoGen contributed this article.