Audio UpdateBest Decisions, Positive Impact

Trent LaMastus
LaMastus Cotton Consultants, Inc.
Cleveland, Miss.

I developed a love for agriculture while growing up and working on the family farm. While attending Delta State University, I worked during the summers as a cotton scout. This is when I was exposed to the many sides of agriculture. I really enjoyed the work, was good at it and felt pride in helping growers make the best crop possible.

Other than a cool, wet spring, 2013 was uneventful. We were concerned that we wouldn’t get the crop planted on time. Even though we were a little late, most growers experienced record yields. Insect pressure was light overall, which was a welcome surprise. We typically expect heavy tarnished plant bug pressure when there are so many corn acres. That wasn’t the case this year. I think the cooler temperatures in the spring may have delayed the usual buildup of plant bugs. Due to the lighter pressure and with the help of a new chemistry, we were able to obtain better control with fewer applications at wider intervals.

Weed control is of great concern, but consultants, chemical companies, retailers and Extension personnel have encouraged producers to be more proactive and are taking a more aggressive approach when it comes to controlling weeds. We only had a few troubled fields this year.

Adapt And Make Changes

Most people do not initially like change. Farmers in the Mississippi Delta are not much different at first, but, like everyone, we all must adapt and adjust to some form of change. Delta growers are fortunate in that much of the soil here will grow a wide variety of crops. We have always made good cotton yields, and yields improve nearly each year. And, we have now shown that we can grow grain as well as anyone anywhere.

However, it is not enough to just have good soil. Farmers in the Mississippi Delta have always been on the forefront of agriculture because they are willing to adapt and make changes in their cropping systems and methods by which they farm and manage their operations.

Addressing Challenges For Best Results

Like my clients, I had to adapt to change as well. My role was primarily cotton consultant when I first started my business 21 years ago. The title “Bug Man” still applies but has expanded to all crops. And it is not just bugs. You also can add fertility, weeds, disease, irrigation, variety selections and technology information to the list. These have always been a part of services that consultants provide, but farmers are relying more on their consultants for all crops rather than just cotton or rice as in the past. Thank goodness, as just a “Bug Man” would starve.

As a crop consultant and an old farm boy, I know what challenges my clients face. Each season, I try to take away some of the burden of watching over their crops. It is my goal to provide accurate and helpful information so that they may make the best decisions that will have a positive impact on their farming operations.

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

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Consultant

• BS degree in Biology from Delta State University

• Member of Mississippi Ag Consultants Association (MACA) for 21 years

• Served 2-year term on MACA Board of Directors

• Consults on cotton, soybeans, corn, rice and other crops

• Utilizes precision ag: grid soil sampling, mapping and providing prescriptions for applicators and planters

• Enjoys spending time with Jennifer – his wife of 17 years – and sons S. Trent, Jr., 13, and William Tucker, 8; and daughter Mary Celia, 17 months.

Best Decisions, Positive Impact

1. In 2013, we were concerned that we wouldn’t get the crop planted on time. Even though we were a little late, most growers experienced record yields.

2. Insect pressure was light overall. Cooler temperatures in the spring may have delayed the usual buildup of plant bugs. Due to the lighter pressure and with the help of a new chemistry, we were able to obtain better control with fewer applications at wider intervals.

3. Weed control is of great concern, but consultants, chemical companies, retailers and Extension personnel have encouraged producers to be more proactive and are taking a more aggressive approach when it comes to controlling weeds. We only had a few troubled fields this year.

4. Delta growers are fortunate in that much of the soil here will grow a wide variety of crops. We have always made good cotton yields, and yields improve nearly each year.

5. Farmers in the Mississippi Delta have always been on the forefront of agriculture because they are willing to adapt and make changes in their cropping systems and methods by which they farm and manage their operations.

6. It is my goal to provide accurate and helpful information to help my clients make the best decisions.

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