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Technology

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 »

Cotton Ginners Marketplace

Using Gin Data Can Lead To Greater Efficiencies We hear about “big data” all the time. All kinds of claims about data are made by all kinds of people. “Data makes our lives better and cheaper.” Or “data is the end of the world,” some say. “Data is why we have so many nice things,” others claim. Let’s talk a bit ... Read More »

‘Cotton Brought Us To The Dance’

By Carroll Smith Editor Matt and Sherrie Miles come from multi-generational Arkansas cotton families. Although cotton is in their blood, they farmed only 180 acres last year. In 2016, they embraced the crop once again by planting 3,300 acres. “Cotton brought us to the dance, and we haven’t forgotten that,” Matt says. The Arkansas couple were high school sweethearts, and ... Read More »

Drones and Privacy

drones for agriculture

Drones are a hot topic in many circles, including the agricultural industry. However, as often happens, the law has fallen behind the technology leading many people to question (or incorrectly assume they understand) how private property rights and the use of commercial drones will co-exist. This blog series will focus on the law potentially applicable in situations where drones fly over the property of another without permission. “If a drone is flying over my property, it is trespassing and I can shoot it down.” I’ve heard this statement made several times over the last few months, and it makes me cringe. First, as will be discussed in detail below, a drone flying over one’s property may not, in fact, be trespassing. Likewise, as we will discuss in Part II of this series, there are a number of drone uses that are permitted by law in Texas. Second, additional legal concerns may exist in situations where a person shoots down a drone. Because drones used for commercial purposes will soon be governed by the FAA (to read a blog post on the proposed regulations, click here), shooting down a drone could be seen as be akin to shooting down an airplane, as both are governed by the FAA, and could result in serious consequences, including terrorism charges. Another potential claim that could be brought by a drone owner is destruction of private property. A lawsuit has been filed by a drone operator whose drone was shot down in Kentucky, seeking a ruling that drones flying in public airspace may not be shot down and compensation when they are shot. [Read article here.] Also, keep in mind that various laws regarding shooting firearms could apply. For example, it may be illegal to discharge a firearm in a person’s back yard if he or she lives in an urban area. Read More »

Spray App Helps Monitor Insect Pests

The Bootheel of Southeast Missouri is home to about 98 percent of the state’s cotton acreage. Cotton, as a high-value commercial crop, has seen a significant increase in pesticide use over the past five years. With this increased use, more attention is being paid to those insecticides that are not only most appropriate for pest control in individual fields but also affect the pest, crop and surrounding environment. Insecticide choices must be concerned with efficacy, selectivity and secondary pests. In addition, frequently used insecticides must be continually monitored for pest susceptibility (i.e. evolving resistance).In the case of pesticide sprays, the monitoring of pest incidence and intensity is nothing new. What are new are the technology tools that make pest observations more than just numbers. Read More »

Western Gins Like Benefits Of Solar Energy

BY BRENT MURPHREE MARICOPA, ARIZ. Large-scale solar energy use on Western cotton farms has been slow on the uptake. However, cotton ginners in the West have begun looking at solar energy options to help cut electrical costs during ginning season. Nationwide, energy providers are under mandates to increase energy sources that are an alternative to fossil fuels. Incentives for energy-producing ... Read More »