New technologies stand at the cusp of entering cotton fields
When cotton seed transforms to a blanket of white before harvest, it hides a long trail of management decisions. There are plenty of places to go wrong, and producers stay closely attuned to new cotton technologies.
In 2017, Bayer is introducing a combination of glyphosate and Liberty tolerance stacked with TwinLink Plus, their new three-gene protection against lepidopteran species, including cotton bollworm, tobacco budworm, and armyworm. TwinLink Plus has been cleared in the U.S. as well as major import countries, and is ready to roll out as Bayer prepares it for commercial production.
“Cotton is a key crop in Bayer’s portfolio, and we want to continue delivering a high level of performance for growers,” says Fred Moore, herbicide tolerant trait development manager at Bayer. “We’re reinvesting back into cotton, not only in chemistries of fungicide, insecticide and herbicide, but even more in traits associated with maximizing yields and fiber quality.”
Monsanto is focused on Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton technology, which will remain its premier herbicide trait looking ahead. In 2017, Monsanto will roll out a limited introduction of Bollgard 3 XtendFlex cotton technology to bring a slightly broader spectrum of control against fall armyworm. It provides additional modes of action for further protection against tobacco budworm and bollworm controlled by Bollgard II today.
The high level of management needed for cotton production keeps farmers running a gauntlet of overlapping issues and looking ahead for what’s new.
Nemastrike, a nematicide seed treatment, is set for a 2018 debut. Also, a lygus gene to combat piercing, sucking insects and control thrips should arrive around 2021. Monsanto is also working on its fourth-generation herbicide tolerance trait, HT4, which could be introduced in the middle to late part
of the 2020 decade.
Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton hit farmers’ fields in 2015. “Nearly 3 million XtendFlex acres were planted in 2016, even prior to the full dicamba label because of the improvements farmers have seen in yield and fiber along with the ability to legally apply Liberty herbicide for weed control,” explains Jordan Iverson, cotton portfolio lead at Monsanto. “That says growers are looking at this as the future of cotton technology.”
PhytoGen continues to concentrate on consistent yields and fiber quality, the latter realized in 2015 with its most recent introduction, PhytoGen variety PHY 444 WRF.
Also in 2015, the Enlist cotton trait was deregulated and is currently moving forward in PhytoGen cotton seed. The Enlist cotton trait adds to the Roundup Ready Flex system and is tolerant to Enlist Duo herbicide, a mix of 2,4-D choline and glyphosate. Enlist cotton also provides full tolerance to glufosinate. Once registered in cotton, growers will have the ability to apply Enlist Duo, which Dow currently offers in corn and soybeans.
In 2016, PHY 490 W3FE was the first variety to feature the Enlist cotton trait. “The big news: In 2017, PhytoGen will have a full range of maturities containing WideStrike 3, Flex and Enlist,” says Joel Faircloth, cotton development specialist for PhytoGen. “Everything going forward will offer enhanced protection against numerous lepidopterous insects, including improved bollworm control, via WideStrike 3 Insect Protection.”
Additionally, these varieties will contain bacterial blight resistance. In 2018 and beyond, PhytoGen will offer Enlist-traited varieties with additional native traits, such as reniform and root-knot nematode resistance and verticillium wilt tolerance.