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Special Report

Legislation House Vote Sets Stage For Talks On Drought Relief

Before members of Congress left Washington for the political conventions and August recess, the House of Representatives passed a 2017 appropriations bill that included California drought-relief provisions. California Farm Bureau Federation President Paul Wenger says passage of the appropriations legislation by the House represents an important step toward addressing problems that limit the flexibility of the California water system. By a vote of 231-196, the House passed the 2017 Interior appropriations bill, HR 5538, including the California-related water provisions. The inclusion of the provisions on water could help set the stage for negotiations with the U.S. Senate this fall, says Erin Huston, CFBF federal policy consultant.“This is the first time the House has passed an Interior bill since 2009, which can be seen as a milestone in itself,” Huston says. “This bill provides a potential path for desperately needed federal drought legislation. We are still working under a very limited calendar, but we will continue to urge a federal legislative solution.” Read More »

Irrigation Strategies – Part 2

The West and the Southwest are areas of the Cotton Belt that typically experience water shortages. Instead of giving up on trying to irrigate their crops, cotton farmers have adopted systems to make the most of the water that they have. “California is the only state that has to rely fully on irrigation to meet crop water needs,” says Bob Hutmacher, University of California Extension cotton specialist. “We are growing cotton in a dry environment with essentially no chance of rainfall during most of our cotton-growing season. Arizona growers may get growing-season water from monsoon rains, but there is little chance of that for most California producers. “In the past, when we had more consistent, favorable water supplies, better quality water, and weren’t competing as much with permanent crops, furrow irrigation was a typical system used by cotton farmers. Today, we still have large acreages of level basin irrigation – a type of border system – on land well suited for it, such as the finer-textured lake bottom land in the San Joaquin Valley. For these specific soil types, soil characteristics allow this ground to be irrigated quite efficiently at low costs with the level basin system.” Read More »

2nd Annual Transform My Community Contest Kicks Off Aug. 1

A.J. Hood knows firsthand the personal gratification derived from taking the time to compose a heartfelt essay about how his community could be transformed. Hood, a grower and farm manager for Tillar & Co., an 18,000-acre tract of land in southeast Arkansas, was motivated to enter the contest in 2015 for very personal reasons. His brother had lived for more than 40 years with several disabilities before losing his courageous battle this past spring. Transform My Community, sponsored by Dow AgroSciences and Cotton Farming, is a way for cotton growers and crop consultants to parlay suggestions on how local communities could be “transformed” with the positive experiences they’ve had using Transform® WG insecticide. The 2016 Transform My Community contest kicks off Aug. 1 and runs through Sept. 30, 2016. Due to Section 18 label use restrictions, only cotton growers and consultants in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee are eligible to submit essays. Read More »

Irrigating For High Yields

By Guy Collins And Keith Edmisten North Carolina State University Authors’ note: These general irrigation guidelines were developed several years ago by other faculty at the University of Georgia. In some cases, deviating from this model may be appropriate. Much of this information is based on my (Collins) personal research experience while in Georgia. We recommend this model as a ... Read More »

Irrigating Cotton With Sensors

By Rad Yager Whether you’re a cotton breeder, researcher or grower, it’s time to consider using soil moisture sensors if you irrigate. Basically, they will help you understand what’s going on deep below the soil surface. Here are some tips on how to get started with the technology. Soil moisture sensors continue to improve and the network of consultants using ... Read More »

Whole Farm Program Merges Four Key Components

By Carroll Smith Editor If standing the test of time is an acceptable measure of success, then AgriEdge Excelsior, which has been in place for 15 years, satisfies this requirement. What started off as a cotton program from Syngenta has evolved over time into a whole farm approach. Reagan DeSpain, the Southern and East Coast AgriEdge manager, says the four ... Read More »

Southern States Launches New Precision Ag Program

Planting Cotton

Southern States Cooperative, a Richmond, Va.-based farm supply and service cooperative, recently launched a new precision ag program for its farmers across the Southeast. The three-tier program features packages – Discover, Evaluation and Analysis – designed to provide farmers with beginner, intermediate and advanced-level precision ag opportunities. “Communication among the farmer, salesperson and precision ag personnel ensures that everyone is on the same page as to program expectations and timing of any particular service,” says Dave Swain, Southern States’ manager of precision ag. “If the farmer has a crop consultant who performs functions such as scouting, Southern States can provide the farmer with data or information, such as imagery, that the farmer can then provide to his consultant. The farmers own the data, and Southern States will not share their data with any entity without their written permission.” Three Programs Available The entry-level option features precision ag basics and allows growers to “dip a toe” into the waters of farm technology. It’s a season-long program designed for those who want to learn how agronomy technology helps provide information to make better crop management decisions. Read More »