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

Herbicide/Insecticide Resistance


Resistance in a pest population is generated from being exposed to the same chemical class, or toxin, over many generations. The main way to combat this is either to change chemistries or rotate crops. 

Resistance concerns for cotton farmers in the Mid-South area include: marestail and pigweed resistance to glyphosate, bollworm resistance to Bt cotton and plant bug resistance to organophosphate insecticides.
Insects can develop resistance faster than plants because insects have many generations in a year. Fungi and nematodes can also develop genetic tolerance to a control chemical or toxin.

Winston Earnheart
Earnheart Agricultural Consultant Service
Tunica, Miss.  

• Thirty-five years cotton consulting experience
• B.S. degree in Agronomy – Mississippi State University
• M.S. and Ph.D. in Biology – University of Mississippi
• Member of Mississippi Agricultural Consultants Association
• Enjoys music, hunting and fishing and getting together with my
wife and six children

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

WhWhat services do you offer and how do they contribute to your farmer client’s profitability?
I consult in cotton and rice, monitoring pest populations
to see if levels are high enough to control to give the client
an economic benefit. Pests include insects, weeds and disease organisms. Other decisions in which I am involved
include fertilization, variety selection, PGRs, irrigation and
defoliation. Although the type of product recommended is
important, timing of the application has a lot to do with
how the product will work. Our service stresses how important this is to the client. I report crop progress and suggest termination of control measures when the crop is mature.

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

Keeping up with the latest technology requires attending many meetings during the “off-season.” Most of my information comes from the Extension services of Mississippi and surrounding states. Their recommendations are well researched and widely accepted among my clients. I also rely upon industry to provide the latest information on
their agricultural chemicals and varieties. The Beltwide is
important, and the magazine and newspaper publications
provide valuable information to both me and the farmer. I
try to evaluate this mass of data so that I can make an
objective, economic recommendation to the client.

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

We have had to become more than just a “bug man.” Farm sizes have become much larger, and farmers spend a larger percentage of their time managing the business aspects of their operations. They have less time to keep up with the technology and to monitor pests in their own crops. We have also had to adapt to new biotechnology, computer applications and the use of GPS.

What has been the most rewarding part of your profession?

The relationships I have established over the years with my clients are valued greatly by me. I hope I have served them in a way that has improved their quality of life and benefited their economic success. I enjoyed farming with my father for 25 years, and having the privilege of still being involved in the agricultural process is very satisfying.


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


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