Dave Hudgens was an outstanding baseball player for the Sun Devils at the University of Arizona. During his college career, he racked up some solid stats. After graduating, he played in the minor leagues for a few years and went on to serve in various coaching positions throughout the remainder of his career.
In an article titled “Conquering the Curveball,” Hudgens wrote, “All Major League hitters can hit a fastball, but only the best have a solid plan to hit a curveball.… Your job is to be prepared.”
To me, Hudgens’ advice seemed to be a good approach to facing the “curveballs” of a cotton-growing season as well.
When visiting with farmers, I always ask them to tell me what keeps them motivated to get up each day and deal with the challenges they encounter along the way. Most say they enjoy the fact that every season and even every day — good, bad or ugly — is different, but never boring. They seem to enjoy figuring out how to overcome any obstacles that pop up and how to make their operations more efficient.
A good example of farmer ingenuity to “conquer the curveball” is in the cover story, “Parking The Sandfighter.” For the past few years, West Texas cotton farmers Kris Verett and Ian McIntosh have adopted conservation tillage paired with cover crops. Verett says the practice protects their soil from water and wind erosion and increases infiltration. McIntosh says their goal in using this approach was to address labor needs. Read more about how the two producers came up with their strategies on page 8.
And in the cotton industry, farmers aren’t the only ones looking for new, efficient ways to skin a cat.
Currently, North Carolina State University Extension has two thresholds for bollworm, depending on the type of cotton planted. Now, they are adding an additional threshold for Bollgard 3, TwinLink Plus and WideStrike 3 of 4% damaged bolls. When asked why they decided to make this adjustment, NCSU Extension entomologist Dominic Reisig says, “In our research, yield response was variable, with results ranging from 2% to 6% damaged bolls as the economic injury level (economic thresholds are set below this point).
An economic threshold of 4% captures the variability in this research and is a good point for growers to determine if a spray is needed in Bollgard 3, TwinLink Plus and WideStrike 3 varieties.”
As Dave Hudgens wrote, “Only the best have a solid plan to hit a curveball.”
And when it comes to problem solving, I like to think the U.S. cotton industry has the cream of the crop to achieve this goal.
If you have comments, please send them to: Cotton Farming Magazine, 7201 Eastern Ave., Germantown, TN 38138.