The saying “No rest for the weary” certainly holds true during cotton harvest. Growers know cotton picking not only signals the end of one season but the beginning of the next.
How well did this variety perform in this field? That question runs through the minds of growers while the picker goes up and down the rows.
The question in some fields, however, should be this: What factors are limiting the yield in this field? In many cases across the Southeast, that answer is nematode pressure.
“With the loss of Temik®, or aldicarb, we are starting to see more pressure from nematodes,” says PhytoGen Cotton Development Specialist Dr. Russell Nuti.
For many years, University of Georgia Extension plant pathologist Dr. Bob Kemerait has estimated that nematode damage robs about 10 percent of the cotton yield from a majority of the fields in the Southeast. Many fields are losing 25 percent of their yield. Think of it this way: On the low end, that’s 100 pounds of cotton per acre when the average is 2 bales. On the high end, using the 25 percent loss estimate, that’s 250 pounds of cotton from a 2-bale acre.
In the upper Southeast, growers also are struggling with nematodes.
“We have a lot of fields with 150-pound yield losses where people don’t even know it’s happening,” PhytoGen Cotton Development Specialist Dr. Joel Faircloth says.
In other fields, Faircloth says, growers are losing around 300 pounds of cotton per acre. With that kind of pressure, growers are paying a high price for inputs that bring less value to the crop.
“When nematodes limit the root system of a plant, it’s not able to take in the nutrients you provide,” he says. “That’s money left in the field because it’s not producing lint for the picker.”
Given these conditions, growers from Virginia to Alabama should consider incorporating practices to reduce the yield impact from nematodes in cotton fields. Which option is best depends on field conditions and a grower’s management style.
“Every field should not be treated, but growers should be mindful and be looking for symptoms of nematode effects — and that would be primarily restricted plant growth and then restricted yields,” says PhytoGen Cotton Development Specialist Dr. Steve Brown.
For fields with moderate pressure, PhytoGen offers two cottonseed varieties that not only produce consistent yield and quality but also decrease nematode populations.
Growers familiar with PhytoGen® cottonseed varieties know PHY 367 WRF was the industry standard for nematode tolerance. The new industry standard for nematode resistance in the Southeast is PhytoGen brand PHY 427 WRF, an early season to midseason variety that adds root-knot-nematode resistance to good yield potential and fiber quality.
Logos: PhytoGen, WideStrike
®PhytoGen and the PhytoGen Logo are trademarks of PhytoGen Seed Company, LLC. ®The WideStrike Logo is a trademark of The Dow Chemical Company (“Dow”) or an affiliated company of Dow. Aldicarb and Temik are federally Restricted Use Pesticides. PhytoGen Seed Company is a joint venture between Mycogen Corporation, an affiliate of Dow AgroSciences LLC, and the J.G. Boswell Company.