In my early years as an ag journalist, one of the biggest challenges was fine-tuning the timing for getting in touch with farmers and university personnel who spent their days from sun up to sun down in the field. After leaving a message on their home and office phones, I waited patiently for a call back late in the afternoon or early evening. Cell phone technology eventually increased the efficiency of my job. These people were now more accessible during the day, depending on coverage in their area.
I remember chatting with Mississippi cotton specialist Will McCarty who told me about a new tool they were trying internally at Mississippi State — something called electronic mail. He said this technology allowed you to communicate with people via your computer. I said, “Will, why would you take time to type out a message to someone when it is much easier just to pick up the phone and call them?” He went on to explain the benefits, but I was not convinced. I was thinking, this would never catch on.
Well, I stand corrected. Since then, technology has continued to evolve at a lightning pace, moving from cell phones to text to smartphones to FaceTime…the list goes on and on.
And all types of new technology are available to the ag sector today. In the cover story on page 8, Texas cotton farmers Russ and Bo Eggemeyer are precision planting high-performing varieties and remotely controlling their subsurface drip irrigation system from their smartphones using the EC III Pro — a precision irrigation tool.
New herbicide technology brings more products to the market to help farmers rotate modes of action and give them powerful tools to fight tough-to-control weeds such as glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth.
In the insect arena, Dr. George Kennedy, North Carolina State University, has developed a forecasting tool for predicting thrips risk to cotton. Farmers can benefit by focusing their thrips management efforts at the most opportune time.
And hats off to Cotton Incorporated as it continues to fund projects that make U.S. cotton farmers even more efficient and viable.
All of the above are just a few examples of how technology is advancing communication and cotton production practices today.
Let’s keep the ball rolling!
If you have comments, please send them to: Cotton Farming Magazine, 7201 Eastern Ave., Germantown, TN, 38138. Contact Carroll Smith via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.