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Some in-season management options are available for pests such as RKN, but PhytoGen Breeding Traits™ provide season-long protection without the added time or cost of crop protection applications.

When PhytoGen Cotton Development Specialist Ken Legé heard reports of bacterial blight in his area, it didn’t line up with what he saw in the field. Much of his time is spent inspecting cotton, so he sees firsthand the latest pest and disease pressure.

“When I heard reports of bacterial blight, I was surprised because I hadn’t seen it at all,” Legé says. “But then it hit me. I wouldn’t see it because all of our PhytoGen W3FE varieties include the PhytoGen Breeding Traits for bacterial blight resistance.”

PhytoGen Breeding Traits™ offer built-in protection against some of the most common pests and diseases found 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.

In-season crop protection products cannot control diseases such as bacterial blight and verticillium wilt. That means cottonseed varieties with built-in protection offer the best line of defense for top yield and quality potential.

“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 Legé. “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 PGR programs.”

These diseases and pests can have significant impact on profitability across the Cotton Belt. 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.1

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.2

PhytoGen tops RKN-resistant varieties

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

“PhytoGen Breeding Traits provide protection against pests and diseases so producers have one less thing to worry about during the season,” says Woodward. “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 an Extension plant pathologist. 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 a 2017 Texas A&M RKN variety trial, the top five varieties with fewest nematodes per 500 cubic centimeters of soil were all from PhytoGen, including the top variety, PhytoGen brand PHY 480 W3FE.3

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.

This PHY 350 W3FE variety sign from West Texas shows three shields that represent the PhytoGen Breeding Traits for bacterial blight (BB), verticillium wilt (VW), and root-knot nematode (RKN). Check with your local PhytoGen territory manager or cotton development specialist for PhytoGen Breeding Traits available in varieties for your geography.

Average of nematode densities across three locations: Seminole, Locketville, and Brownfield, Texas.


1Kemerait, B., T. Allen, S. Lu, et al. 2017. Identification and management of bacterial blight of cotton. Cotton Incorporated.

2Whitaker, J., S. Culpepper, et. al. 2018. 2018 Georgia Cotton Production Guide.

3Wheeler, T., Woodward, J. 2017. Root-knot Nematode Variety Trial Results, 2017.