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A push for something better entails a willingness to change. And change opens the door to better-than-expected success.
That’s what happened for producer Stephen Dozier, who farms about 3,500 acres of cotton and peanuts in Georgia. Dozier previously planted cotton varieties with a dicamba-based herbicide system, but he never felt settled with how that fit with his peanut acres.
“I never really like spraying dicamba because it doesn’t fit well with peanuts. Why would you want to spray something on your cotton that will kill your peanuts? And that goes the other way too,” Dozier said.
In 2021, Dozier planted PhytoGen® brand varieties due to management efficiencies with his peanut crop. PhytoGen® W3FE varieties have the Enlist® cotton trait for labeled applications of Enlist One® and Enlist Duo® herbicides with 2,4-D choline. Peanuts have inherent tolerance to 2,4-Db, a common herbicide used across peanut acres. Because both peanuts and PhytoGen W3FE varieties utilize 2,4-D-based herbicides, there are distinct synergies when planting near one another.
“With PhytoGen W3FE varieties and peanuts, we can spray 2,4-D based products on both crops — it’s a perfect fit.”
Dozier said those benefits made his weed control program more timely and flexible. He recalled one day his peanut sprayer was applying 2,4-Db in a peanut field while his cotton sprayer applied Enlist One in an adjacent field of PhytoGen® brand PHY 443 W3FE. In that situation, he was safe to spray whichever way the wind blew because of compatibility between the surrounding crops.
Another benefit comes with sprayer tank cleanout. If you’re not putting dicamba in your tank for cotton acres, that’s one less thing to worry about when it’s time to make herbicide applications in peanuts. Many growers have found they can use one sprayer for both PhytoGen W3FE varieties and peanuts, eliminating the investment and maintenance of a second spray rig.
“I could definitely use one sprayer for my cotton and peanuts if I wanted to go in that direction,” Dozier said. “Right now, I’m using two sprayers to cover all my acres in a timely manner, but it’s nice not to worry about contamination with dicamba.”
Big Bump In Yields
With success in 2021, Dozier planted 100% of his cotton acres to PhytoGen brand varieties in 2022.
He said he was extremely happy with that decision, yielding a triple-digit improvement over the previous year’s farm average. In addition to the benefits with his peanut crop, he also found that PhytoGen offered varieties with protection against the major pests in his area: reniform and root-knot nematodes.
On fields with heavy reniform nematodes, he made several hundred more pounds per acre compared to competitive varieties. He said PHY 443 W3FE and PhytoGen brand PHY 411 W3FE were both excellent yielders, with PHY 411 W3FE better suited to acres with higher fertility and lighter soils.
“The average yield across my farm is higher than it’s ever been,” Dozier said. “When I showed the results to my banker, he said, ‘Wow, what did you do differently this year?’ Planting 100% PhytoGen is one of the best decisions I have made in years, and I will definitely plant 100% PhytoGen again next season.”