Cotton Links


What can cotton producers do to deal with the
rising cost of inputs this year?


Ted Sheely
Lemoore, Calif.

We’ve been using variable rate technology for fertilizer applications to help cut costs. And, of course, we’ve divided our fields into zones and soil sampled a lot. We’ve also tried to figure a way to eliminate a cultivation here and there. Basically, it comes down to doing anything to save money. I don’t see any silver bullets out there. We know there are only certain areas where we can cut costs.

Fred Bourland
Cotton Breeder
Keiser, Ark.

I’m not sure I have all the answers on how to deal with these input costs. We’ve tried really hard to squeeze our costs for the last two years. Some of our producers will do early spraying to control the plant bugs. I would advise farmers to be very careful about these early applications. You can burn yourself at both ends of the season by spraying too much. If we can save on the number of trips across the field, that would be another way to save on diesel costs. If I had to sum it up, I’d say if producers can save on insecticide sprayings and fuel, it will definitely help.

Jimmy Dodson
Robbstown, Texas

Most farmers in our area are buying fuel in bulk quantities and trying to keep their fuel storage pretty full. We also are trying to explore ways to hedge our fuel costs. I haven’t done that yet, but I’m taking a serious look at that approach. In my opinion, the fuel costs are tied to the value of the dollar, and it’s hard to say how much longer we’ll face this situation. It’s a real problem for us when you’re trying to hedge your price risk on the commodity. If you don’t cover your inputs, you’re not really hedged.

Bobby Carson
Marks, Miss.

The only way to deal with the increased cost of inputs is for producers to be as cost-conscious as they can. Fortunately, we’re in a situation where commodity prices are higher and that can offset some of these input costs. I hate to think what would happen if commodity prices dropped down to lower levels. I know for sure that input costs aren’t going any lower. Like I said, I don’t know where else we can cut our costs. Producers simply have to hope for good yields and higher prices.

Jack Royal
Leary, Ga.

The main thing for a farmer is having a plan and sticking with it throughout the season. You don’t need to run into surprises along the way. Our two biggest costs in south Georgia are fuel and fertilizer. It’s hard to grow a crop without fertilizer, but we soil sample and only give the crop what it needs. And we try to only make the minimum number of trips across the field to save on fuel. There is no question that input costs have become a major issue for our farmers. We’re doing everything we can to deal with it, but that doesn’t make it any easier to come up with solutions.


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