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Gearing Up For 2010 print email

Paul Scott Poag
Poag Scouting
Manila, Ark.

In northeast Arkansas, the year 2009 was absolutely the most challenging year I have ever encountered. I, as well as many others, am glad to have this one in the rearview mirror. There are several lessons I have learned this year. The most significant is that we can make it rain with center pivots, but when Mother Nature turns on the water, there is no one who can turn it off.

This time of year I begin to get myself and my farmers geared up for the upcoming season. There are several challenges facing farmers in 2010 such as, which crop is going to be grown in a certain field, and which variety will go to each field. Commodity prices, crop budgets and, ultimately, what crop the landowners want their farmers to plant will answer these questions.

Variety selection is always a big decision. I select cotton varieties based on three main factors: Maturity, genetic traits and field trial results. In northeast Arkansas, most varieties are early to mid-season. I like to spread out the maturity of a farmer’s varieties in order to minimize risk. Genetic traits have revolutionized the way we have farmed cotton in Arkansas and will continue to do so. I have my farmers utilize the traits that are currently available and look forward to the new traits that are to come. I look at several different field trials to evaluate a variety for stability and whether it will have the same results on a similar soil type that my clients farm. I personally like a variety to place in the top 15 percent of all the field trials to make sure that it has good top-end yield potential with no unexpected yield drags.

The fertility program for each crop will be decided when all soil sampling is completed and processed. I have been promoting grid soil sampling this year to my producers by showing them the benefits of this practice. Since fertilizer is a major cost, it makes sense that the more efficiently the fertilizer is used, the more profitable the farmer will be.

One of the biggest questions this year has to be weed control. In 2009, I witnessed more weed chopping crews in northeast Arkansas since my time as a field scout began in the mid ’90s. This winter, I will drive home two main points to my growers: Start clean and use a pre-emerge herbicide for residual weed control.

Good luck to everyone in 2010!

Click here to ask Paul Scott Poag a question or submit a comment about this month’s Cotton Consultant’s Corner.

• B.S. in Agricultural Business with a minor in
  Plant Science – Arkansas State University, 2002
• M.S. in Agricultural Economics – University of
  Arkansas, 2005
• Started Poag Scouting in 2000 in Manila, Ark.,
  working with cotton, soybeans, corn and wheat
• Certified Crop Advisor
• Arkansas State Plant Board Certified Consultant
• Married to Rachel for four months
• Enjoys spending time with family and hunting

Recap: Gearing Up For 2010
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