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Consider Specific Scenarios When Choosing Varieties print email

Bert Falkner
Land Services, LLC
West Point, Miss.

I have been working as an independent crop consultant in east Mississippi since 1987. Living in this part of the state, I don’t have the luxury of walking out of my back door and looking at 10,000 acres of crops, but I am fortunate to have a large enough area that usually receives a timely rain to help make a crop.

Starting out, I just worked in cotton, but as input costs have risen along with shifts in commodity prices and as farmers’ schedules have tightened, I, along with most consultants, have broadened my crop base. Today, I’m involved in the production decisions on soybeans, corn, wheat, sweet potatoes and peanuts, along with cotton.

With the cost to make a crop today, farmers want more and more production advice. When I started in the business, we were known as the “bugman” or a “scout,” but with ever changing markets dictating crops and technology, our knowledge of crops and production of these crops has had to change to help our producers meet their yield goals. Therefore, our role as it relates to the producer has shifted more to that of a consultant than a scout.

Each year brings on a new set of challenges, and 2011 was no different. This crop experienced flooding rains early in the season, temperature swings that ranged from lows in the 40s to highs pushing 100 degrees in a short period of time in May. We also dealt with bacterial blight, fourbract squares, the ever present plant bug and some very hard to control weeds. If you were a young plant trying to set yield at this time, what are you wondering? But as we got further into the growing season, things began to settle down and along came some timely summer showers and great fall weather for harvest. Most of my area was blessed with some very good yields, along with good prices, this past growing season.

Planning for the 2012 crop has already started, and one of our biggest challenges is variety selection. There are so many choices with new technology that it becomes difficult for farmers to find the right fit for that specific need on that specific acre. For example, with Round-up Ready Flex vs. WideStrike vs. Bollgard II vs. conventional, questions abound. Which set of variety traits fit under this production system? What about a particular variety behind corn or peanuts? Which variety with these traits fits this soil type? What about this variety on the back 40 with that weed spectrum? Do I need a pre-emerge residual herbicide back there?

It’s Dec. 15, all of our crops are out of the field, and we will be ginning cotton for a few more weeks. It’s also a beautiful day, and the BUCKS are walking, so I think I’ll worry about work later!

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

• B.S. in Agriculture in 1977 and Pest Management
in 1985 – Mississippi State University
• Established Land Service, LLC consulting business
in1987
• Member and past president/treasurer of Mississippi
Ag Consultants Association
• National Cotton Council delegate
• Married to wife Sharon for 22 years. Two children:
Abby, 19 and Murry, 15
• Enjoys spending time with family, hunting, working
with his chocolate lab Daisy and following
Oak Hill Academy sports

Recap:
Attention To Detail Is Key In 2012

1. Instead of “bugman” or “scout,” our role has shifted more to that of a consultant.

2. The 2011 crop experienced flooding rains early in the season, temperature swings that ranged from lows in the 40s to highs pushing 100 degrees in a short period of time in May.

3. The biggest challenge for the 2012 season is variety selection.

4. There are so many choices with new technology that it becomes difficult for farmers to find the right fit for that specific need on that specific acre.

5. For example, with Round-up Ready Flex vs. WideStrike vs. Bollgard II vs. conventional, questions abound.

6. Producers have to consider specific scenarios when selecting the right variety for each field.

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