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Cotton Consultant's Corner

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Click here to ask Donald Kitten a question or submit a comment
about this month’s Cotton Consultant’s Corner.

  
Harvest Aid Season
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Donald Kitten
Kitten Consulting Service
Lubbock, Texas  

• B.S. degree in Entomology – Texas Tech University
• Member of the High Plains Association of Crop Consultants
• Enjoys backpacking in the Colorado San Juan Mountains
with his brothers in September and hanging out with his
wife Gina and kids Keith, 21, and Holly, 16.


In this Q&A interview, Kitten talks about the challenges he faces and the rewards he realizes as a consultant in today’s new ag environment.

What services do you offer and how do they contribute to your farmer client’s profitability?

My primary focus is insect management but can involve other services. What has not changed since I was a summer scout in 1976 is the need for thorough crop monitoring. I make a weekly check of 15 whole plants every 20-25 acres with re-checks as needed. This allows me to make recommendations for timely control when pests reach threshold levels to protect yield potential. If the crop is on limited irrigation, we may terminate inputs sooner than three to four NAWF. If it’s on drip, and producers are shooting for three to four bales, that top crop becomes very important so we may protect it a while longer.

What’s your approach to processing technology/ product information that you eventually pass on to the farmer?

Annual meetings are good sources for gathering information, and industry field trials are helpful to see firsthand how new materials perform. I am really grateful for the cooperation among consultants and Extension personnel in the Texas High Plains. Extension has an opportunity to look at numbered materials before they hit the market, and consultants get to see them real time. Whatever I can garner from that, I pass along to my producers. It’s a real asset during the season to be able to share information and communicate that way.

In your career, what’s been the biggest change for crop consultants?

One of the biggest changes is the success of the Boll Weevil Eradication Program without which I doubt we would have enjoyed the degree of success in our record 2004-05 yields. Producers deserve a lot of credit for initiating and funding this program. The advances made in seed and irrigation technology have been allowed to shine without that critter in the mix. In certain areas where the numbers became overwhelming regardless of the control frequency, we would still realize some damage as a result of weevil activity. Now our cotton has the chance to reach its full potential. Producers have gotten their money back many times over by removing the boll weevil.

What has been the most rewarding part of your profession?

I mentioned to one of my producers who was a former summer scout for me that there are times that I question why I ever got into this high stress, little sleep, hotter than hades work. Yet, at other times I feel sorry for those who don’t get to experience it. For me, it’s a chance to experience nature and help people who have become good friends achieve profitable yields. That’s very rewarding.

 

- COTTON CONSULTANT'S CORNER ARCHIVES -

Cotton Consultant of the Year Award
  • 
Cotton Consultant of the Year History
  • 
Cotton Consultant of the Year Recipients

 


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