We’ve just tried to be as efficient as possible in our operation and stay on top of the insects. We also try to avoid unnecessary costs and keep a close eye on everything. It’s definitely a good idea to manage each field intensively as possible and not make blanket applications of herbicides or insecticides. This is where it’s important to listen to our consultant’s recommendations. It’s good that cotton is such a resilient crop because it has the ability to recover after a serious drought.
We are seeing a lot of our farmers spend money on guidance systems to help them do things in a shorter amount of time. That’s one example of how we’re trying to be more efficient. It’s definitely helped our farmers in this part of Texas. As far as straight input costs, if a farmer sees dividends in the long run, he’ll spend the money. If he can avoid an expenditure, he’ll go that route.
Our farmers are employing a lot of different approaches to deal with high input costs. They are implementing various cultural practices while doing everything they can to be as efficient as possible. I’m seeing a lot of farmers making one trip across the field instead of two in an effort to save on costs. There’s no question that we face a lot challenges in California with fewer acres, regulatory issues and water availability. When you add in the input costs, it makes for a difficult situation. But our farmers are dealing with it and doing everything within their power to farm efficiently. We aren’t going away, and we’re still here.
Farmers in our area have cut back and been as efficient as they can in controlling input costs. I don’t know that there is much more they can cut. It all comes down to being timely in applications of inputs they purchase and put into the field. There are a lot of “bare bones” operations out there already. In addition to reducing input costs, producers want to maximize yields as much as possible. There are no simple answers to this situation.
We look where we can to find efficiencies. Variable rate applications are paying some dividends for us. We try to cut back on our inputs where it’s appropriate. On the whole, we are just trying to rein in our costs as best as we can. There is a limit on what we can control. We can try to buy diesel and fertilizer at the right time. Fertilizer prices, for example, have come down a lot in the past year, but they are still high and so is diesel. Like I said, we’re doing the best we can. There are numerous factors involved when you talk about input costs.