A Prevent Defense Scores Against Cotton Disease


A prevent defense limits touchdowns on a football field. In cotton, however, a prevent defense scores against cotton disease. The key player is the running back – the variety that can run through disease and come out strong at harvest.

Variety selection is the prime time to protect a cotton crop from Verticillium wilt and bacterial blight. Growers with experience with either disease are careful to choose varieties to protect them from yield loss.

“We’ve had fields in the past planted to varieties that didn’t have Verticillium wilt tolerance; Vert completely destroyed the yield. A good-looking field – cut the yield in half whenever that disease hit,” Texas grower Lincoln Devault says. “Vert tolerance and drought tolerance are two of the biggest traits we look at – probably because that disease around this area can destroy a good-looking field of cotton.”

While some cultural practices and irrigation timing can impact disease development, choosing varieties with very good or outstanding tolerance to the disease is the most effective management practice. That’s why managing for disease – such as Verticillium wilt and bacterial blight – is one of those times when a grower has one shot at getting it right; they must choose a variety that can deliver yield under disease pressure.

It’s the highly productive fields that are most vulnerable to Verticillium wilt.

“The heaviest irrigated ground is where you’re more likely to see Verticillium wilt problems,” says Kenny Melton, Bayer agronomic services team manager for the Western region. “So, if you’ve got a good productive field you don’t want to have it set back by having Verticillium come in and take out some of the foliage late in the season and cause you to have a low mic discount.”

“Out here in west Texas, Verticillium wilt can be a very significant problem in certain years,” Melton says. “So, it’s really important for growers to plant varieties with high tolerance so they can stay productive and stay competitive in today’s tight market.

For fields under pressure from bacterial blight, resistant varieties are available.

“Planting a resistant variety is the most effective way to avoid bacterial blight,” Melton says. “Once bacterial blight has been observed in a field during the growing season, there are no effective chemical control measures. Fungicides are ineffective as the disease pathogen is a bacterium.”

Growers looking for disease management options for planting the right variety to the right field have a deep bench with the FiberMax® lineup, Melton says. Melton also notes that the “bacterial blight resistant” rating is a third-party designation by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension System.

Bacterial Blight Resistance and Verticillium Wilt Tolerance

  • FM 1830GLT: An early/medium maturing variety, FM 1830GLT offers excellent yield potential and fiber quality, high gin turnout, bacterial blight resistance and very good Verticillium wilt tolerance. These characteristics are complemented by the GlyTol®, LibertyLink® and TwinLink® (GLT) trait package for proven, in-season weed management with Liberty® and glyphosate herbicides and TwinLink, a two-gene worm protection trait.
  • FM 1911GLT: The industry-leading disease package on this early/medium maturing variety includes not only resistance to bacterial blight, but also very good Verticillium wilt tolerance and very good root-knot nematode tolerance. Excellent early-season vigor and storm tolerance, very strong yield potential, high gin turnout and very strong yield potential round out this package.
  • FM 2334GLT: The combination of very good Verticillium wilt tolerance and bacterial blight resistance quickly gets a field started down the road to the excellent yield potential, excellent fiber quality and high gin turnout growers have learned to expect from FM 2334GLT.
  • FM 2498GLT: Growers looking for excellent yield potential with medium maturity can look to FM 2498GLT. This semi-smooth variety offers bacterial blight resistance, Verticillium wilt tolerance and very good fiber quality potential.
  • FM 2574GLT: Dryland production on the Rolling Plains feels like home for FM 2574GLT. With outstanding fiber potential and excellent yield potential, growers also can count on this variety for bacterial blight resistance and very good Verticillium wilt tolerance. This smooth leaf variety also offers high gin turnout.
  • FM 2011GT: Widely recognized as a workhorse variety, FM 2011GT features GlyTol for in-season glyphosate herbicide tolerance, provides good root-knot nematode tolerance and excellent storm tolerance and delivers very good fiber quality and high gin turnout

Bacterial Blight Resistance

  • FM 1953GLTP: Consistently delivers on its excellent yield potential and fiber quality package, regardless of the environment. Bred for harsh conditions, FM 1953GLTP shows good early-season vigor, excellent heat tolerance and resistance to bacterial blight. When the going gets tough, FM 1953GLTP is the variety you want in your field.
  • FM 2007GLT: An early/medium maturity GlyTol LibertyLink TwinLink variety, FM 2007GLT was bred specifically for the harsh South Texas growing environment but has shown wide adaptation for the Rolling Plains of both Texas and Oklahoma. In addition to bacterial blight resistance, this variety earns a rate of excellent for yield potential, fiber quality and storm tolerance.
  • FM 1888GL: This variety gets up and gets going. FM 1888GL is ideal for growers who need strong performance with bacterial blight resistance and weed management flexibility, but who farm in an area with historically low worm pressure. FM 1888GL starts strong with good early-season vigor and shows outstanding yield potential and high gin turnout.

Verticillium Wilt Tolerance

  • FM 2322GL: In dryland or under irrigation, FM 2322GL brings high yield potential and excellent fiber quality potential, even under pressure from Verticillium wilt. With outstanding tolerance to drought and to Verticillium wilt, FM 2322GL is a go-to variety throughout the Southwest.

Visit the Variety Selector Tool to select the right cotton variety for your field.

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