Seed companies are readying their 2016 announcements for cotton.
Cotton may not be king anymore in California due largely to drought and permanent crop plantings, but this has not slowed seed companies from offering a plethora of fiber variety options to growers.
This year, the Phytogen cotton seed brand from Dow AgroSciences is the number one planted brand for Pima- and Upland Acala-type cottons in the Golden State, followed by Bayer CropScience’s FiberMax and Stoneville seed varieties.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly half of the California Upland crop is spread across four Phytogen varieties. More than 82 percent of the Pima crop is from two popular Phytogen varieties.
This year, the PHY 725 variety was the most popular Upland variety planted in the state, accounting for over 26 percent of the state’s cotton crop. The newer PHY 755 made up just over 8 percent of the state’s Upland plantings, based on the USDA numbers.
The statistics do not reflect a new Phytogen (PHY) offering currently in limited, experimental trials seems to show significant promise.
PHY 764 is a new Upland Acala variety slated for official release in 2016, according to Dow sales representative Harry Peck. He believes PHY 764 could eventually replace the current Acala varieties PHY 725 and PHY 755.
The new PHY 764 has yielded better in trials, according to Peck and growers who grew experimental plots of the variety. Growers in the central San Joaquin Valley counties of Kings and Tulare appear to like how it yields.
According to Peck, PHY 764 has the WideStrike insect component, which is expressed in two proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis in cotton plants, to provide improved worm control. PHY 764 will also be Roundup Ready.
Peck said, “If you don’t have worm control in your cotton you won’t sell cotton in the rest of the cotton belt.”