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Cotton Consultant's Corner

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Early Season Insect Control


The new seed treatment against nematodes can be used successfully in our area where below threshold reniform nematodes are found.

In the Tennessee Valley, growers must use a preventative thrips product. The neonics have worked well and have been consistent. But where spider mites are an issue, using a carbamate in-furrow is a wise choice.
May 2005 showed us that we need heat units to grow cotton. Farmers need to plant when our soils are warm enough and thefore cast is favorable. Our best chance for another two-bale crop is having the cotton grow off early under favorable weather.

Larry Walker
Walker Cotton Technical Services
Flintville, Tenn.  

• Five years cotton consulting experience
• B.S. degree in Ag Science – Auburn University
• Member of the Agriculture Consultants Assn. of Alabama
• 17 years experience in the ag chem business
• Enjoys bird hunting, keeping up with biotech stocks, sailing and working on the family farm with his grandchildren

In this Q&A interview, Walker 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?

I assess cotton varieties from Alabama and surrounding states and recommend new varieties where there is a particular fit/need. I offer a “cradle to grave” service – varieties, burndowns and residual weed control, insect control, fertility, pgr’s, and layby and defoliation programs to help my clients increase their profitability. Field reports include number of fruiting nodes and nodes above white flower.

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

In my prior work experience, I’ve developed working relationships with many consultants and ag Extension leaders.The Beltwide provides a good forum to meet these friends, ask questions and discuss ideas. These professional contacts are invaluable in making some input decisions. Area Extension meetings and research field days are important in assessing new technology. Phone calls still work well.

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

Assessing all of the technology is a challenge. However, I believe that I am at the “front end” of the biggest change – glyphosate-resistant weeds. A critical decision with my farmers is picking the right residual tank mix partner with glyphosate or going back to tillage. My farmer clients grow cotton on four different soil types and the red Valley soils respond least to no-till. I’ll have more DNA surface-applied at planting this year than the previous years combined.

What has been the most rewarding part of your profession?

I think of it as reward moments: Picking off the end rows for a new farmer in a field that hasn’t had cotton on it in 40 years; picking up a “Christmas gift” barbequed pork shoulder because our cotton crop really turned out well; seeing the smile on a farmer’s face when his staple is 37 and 38 or when he is passing one million pounds harvested; and picking cotton with my grandchildren Emily and Taylor for dry arrangements at home and at church.

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


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