Worthy Cotton Pest Management, Inc./cotton farmer
Cadaretta, Miss. (Consults in the Bootheel of Missouri,
In the summer of 1977, I started down a road that I had no idea of where it would take me. I was at Mississippi State at the time and like most farm-bred boys, I knew what my summer would consist of: Sitting straddle of a 3020 John Deere tractor plowing cotton, spraying, etc.
I had in the back of my mind trying my hand at scouting cotton for someone to make some money, since my dad’s pay schedule wasn’t at the top of the heap. I got a job scouting with the local county agent and loved every day of it. This is when I realized what I was going to set my goal for. From this point on, I have spent every summer doing what I enjoy most, helping farmers make more cotton.
As I said earlier, being from a farming background, I know how important it is to do this job and do it right. Once I start making scheduled rounds, I try to treat each man’s cotton as if it were my own, “to make every dollar count.”
As for 2012, it has been pretty much like all other years (completely unpredictable). We started out our year pretty much as any other year in the Bootheel as far as weather goes – unpredictable. First of all, we went from 100 to 120 days without as much as a sprinkle of water in a large area. We planted cotton in mostly old beds, but lack of moisture kept us from getting any type of uniform stand. We actually had some fields with five different ages of cotton in them. Seventy percent of our cotton was brought to a stand by either flooding or by using center pivots.
For 2012, this was only the start of our problems. Next, we had an abundance of thrips, which led directly into the worst spider mite infestation I’ve ever seen in my 35 years of consulting. The rest of the summer ran fairly smoothly, although defoliation was tricky due to the many ages of cotton that were in the same field. However, we managed to get through this, and, from what I understand, we are picking a very good cotton crop in between rain showers.
As for any advice I could offer about cotton for 2013 (since prices are where they are), it would be: 1) Pick your seed varieties based on what they have done for you in the past; 2) Match varieties to your soil type; 3) This is not a year to try unproven yielders on a very large scale; 4) Always use in-furrow fungicides 5) Plan planting dates. Remember, “The early bird always get the WORM.”
By the time you read this, I hope and pray that all of you have gathered your crops, and that they were bill payers. Now it’s time to be in the right place at the right time for that 170 buck to come by you. Okay, maybe a 140 buck. Have a good hunting season.
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