here to ask Andy Graves
a question or submit a comment about this month’s Cotton
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in the U.S. and other countries. Cruiser® insecticide is protected
by several pending patent applications and granted patents in
the U.S. and worldwide, including U.S. Patent Nos. 5852012 and
6844339. ©2007 Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc.,
P.O. Box 18300, Greensboro, NC 27419. Important: Always read and
follow label instructions before buying or using these products.
BS in Agricultural Economics – Mississippi State University
• Service producers in Coahoma, Quitman and Bolivar counties
• Member of the American Society of Agronomy
• Member of the Mississippi Agricultural Consultants Assn.
• Have been a full-time consultant for six years, and a
part-time consultant for another 10
• I enjoy bow hunting, fishing, golf and spending time
with my wife and kids.
In this Q&A interview, Graves talks about a crop consultant’s
challenges and rewards in today’s ag environment.
What services do
you offer and how do they contribute to your farmer client’s profitability?
I offer a full service program
for all of my growers that
starts in the fall. Each field is sampled by zone or grid every
three years, and results are recorded and archived. In the
fall we will figure out what crops will go where and fertilize
accordingly. During the winter we will go over cropping
system yields and try to figure out what varieties will go
where. Herbicide programs will be discussed during the
winter and the spring along with spring burndown recommendations. After
the crop is up, recommendations are made for weeds, insects, PGRs and
irrigation. At crop termination I will make defoliation recommendations,
and the cycle will start over again.
What have you found
to be the best approach to processing information/ technology and sharing
it with your farmer clients?
I read a lot of information
and try to talk to all of the basic
reps during the winter to find out what is new or what we
might lose. I try to attend as many meetings as possible
offered by basic companies and extension. The Internet
has made things wonderful by allowing consultants like myself to obtain
any information we need at the push of a button. I am fortunate that
in my area I know a lot of other consultants, and we share everything
we learn on a daily basis. We all have the same goal, to do the best
that we can for our growers. But no matter what I see or hear, the final
decision is made by me in the field – some things seem to look
good to one person but not as good to another.
How would you describe
the future role of the cotton consultant?
With today’s technology,
we are not just bugmen anymore. I feel like data management is going
to be big for me in the future. With aerial imagery, soil data, yield
data and Veris data, someone has to be able to sit down and sort through
this. It’s very challenging to look at a lot of this information
and figure out where we can do better on each farm, then take it to
the field and watch it help the grower.
What has been the
most rewarding part of your profession?
Watching it all come together.
Nothing thrills me more than defoliation season. We all feel the stress
during the year – it could be high insect pressure, weather issues
or anything else. But to get in my truck and ride and see cotton after
it is defoliated and the smiles on my growers’ faces is an unbelievable
feeling. It makes all the hard work worthwhile knowing you did your
best for your customers, and they are pleased with your work.