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Cotton Consultant's Corner

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




Successful Production Tips:


1. Have a soil management plan that is structured around a sound soil sampling program.

2. Inputs should be applied as accurately and as timely as possible.

3.Communicate with all parties involved in the production of the crop.

4. Keep records, review them and learn from them.


Rusty Elston
Elston Crop Management, Inc.
Chaneyville, La.

• B.S. in Agronomy (Soil Science), B.S. in Wildlife Management
  from Louisiana Tech University
• Began career in agriculture in high school in 1974
• Full time consulting began in 1981 after college graduation
• Started my own consulting business in 2003
• Member and current President of the Louisiana Agricultural
  Consultants Association
• My wife Karen, son Daniel, daughter Laura and I live near
  Cheneyville, La.
• I enjoy hunting, fishing, friends and church activities.

In this Q&A interview, Elston talks about a crop consultant’s challenges and rewards in today’s ag environment.

What influenced your decision to pursue a career as a cotton crop consultant and what services do you offer your farmer clients?

In high school I was just looking for a job out of doors. After my first season I said that I’d never do that again. However, there was always something inside of me that excited me about agriculture. I couldn’t get away from it. There’s always something new and challenging. I enjoy working with people together for a common goal. Farmers are a unique people that I love to work with. Being an independent crop consultant allows me to work hard and to see the benefits. My consulting business offers soil sampling, nutrient management, advice on weed, insect and disease management, PGRs, defoliation and water management. Services are provided for cotton, corn, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans and wheat.

Outside of your usual responsibilities, such as variety selection, soil sampling, scouting, etc., how can cotton consultants make a difference in making their farmer clients’ operations a success?

Cotton consultants need to be involved in a complete management system. Be as much a part of the program as you can. Know your crop, know your options, be aware of the costs; know your goals and the farmer’s goals. Be genuinely concerned for the crop as if it were your own.

How would you describe the future role of the cotton consultant as the industry continues to evolve?

The future role of the cotton consultant will continue to evolve into a dynamic source of information and relay avenue for farmers. As technology changes, as input costs sky rocket and as farmers change, we must strive to meet the challenge. Continued education is a demand for me as well as for all consultants. Louisiana is blessed with an AgCenter that provides continued education based on sound research. Industry representatives sponsor meetings to educate consultants on their products and research work. I think attending these meetings are a must to stay on top of the consulting business and to evolve with the times and challenges.

What has been the most rewarding part of your profession?

The most rewarding part of my career is the trust relationship between me and my clients. They depend on me for a lot. Seeing them smile or honk when they pass or to hear a thank you for a job well done is a reward in itself. To see the management system that began well ahead of planting become a success is the reward.



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