here to ask Jesse Rice a question or submit a comment
about this month’s
Cotton Consultant’s Corner.
Varieties & Seed Treatments
whole cotton crop hinges on variety selection and the type of
seed treatments that you choose. You can’t put a price tag
on getting your cotton off to a good start.
In our area,
50 to 60% of the cotton acres were treated with Avicta this year.
I treated some of my seed with Avicta and planted some without.
It seems like the cotton I treated with Avicta weighed out a little
heavier. It’s convenient for us to use it in our area because
we have a treating facility about 30 miles away in McGehee. That
works out real well.
Jesse Rice Consulting
Began scouting in college and has been in the consulting
business for 40 years
• BBA degree in Agribusiness from the University of Arkansas
• Jesse says he gave up fishing but loves to hunt and farm!
In this Q&A interview, Rice 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?
Early in the year we work
on variety selection and fertility
programs. In June, July and August, we scout the fields
twice a week and make recommendations on insecticides,
herbicides, PGRs, irrigation schedules and defoliation programs. One
of the most important services we offer is making sure that our farmers’
first irrigation starts on time. We get lots of questions on irrigation
that we didn’t use to get. This year we had to irrigate on a four-
to five-day schedule because of how hot and dry it was. Also, in our
area, we usually water as long as there is anything on top we think
we can make. That’s just the way we do it.
approach to processing technology/product information
that you eventually pass on to the farmer?
I go to the winter meetings
that the chemical companies
and Extension service put on and attend the Beltwide
Cotton Conferences and the Gin Show in Memphis.
I read a lot of trade magazines, then I meet with my growers before
the season starts to see if they have any questions. Five years ago
when the Bt varieties came out, we spent a lot more time educating our
growers. Now as we get into more Bt II cotton, we’re going to
have to go through an education process on that technology, too.
In your career,
what’s been the biggest change for crop consultants?
The biggest change I’ve
seen is the size of farms. When I first started consulting, we had allotments.
Until the early '70s if you owned 40 acres, you could only raise 10
acres of cotton. The government told you exactly how many acres of each
crop you could raise on your farm or on the ground that you rented.
When I first started consulting, one of my farmers had 200 acres, one
had 100 and everybody else was. under 50. Today we have fewer farmers,
but they have a lot more acres. Another change is the new technology
and the knowledge necessary to use it. It’s unbelievable how much
you have to know. That’s where consultants come in. The farmers
pay us to do all of the leg work for them while they are actually out
there doing the farming.
What has been the
most rewarding part of your profession?
It’s two-fold. Watching
someone grow from a small operation into a larger operation is very
satisfying. One of my farmers was working with his daddy when I first
started dealing with him. Now he farms over five thousand acres. I’m
also very proud of some of the young people who started out working
for me and now have consulting businesses of their own. That’s