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Arkansas – ‘Man, What A Year’ print email

David Hydrick
Hydrick’s Crop Consulting, Inc.
Jonesboro, Ark.

Cotton has been up over a dollar a pound, and we have made one of the best cotton crops here in northeast Arkansas in my 20 years of consulting. However, my producers spent plenty to get there, that’s for sure.

In northeast Arkansas, I always say our fiscal year starts Oct. 1. That’s when we get our grid sampling done, prescriptions written and lime and mix fertilizer applied. Our biggest yields this year, some topping 1,700 and 1,800 pounds are all coming from variable rate applied (VRA) fertilizer grid-sampled fields. By November, we are making plans for the next season, especially booking seed. This past year we applied fall Valor and booked ST 5458B2RF and DP 0912 B2RF. Both these varieties are doing extremely well for us in 2010 and will be large players in 2011.

Our growing season is so much shorter here than in the rest of the Mid-South, so we do a lot of things that are not by the book. We plant when it’s really too cold to plant and defoliate somewhat earlier compared to our southern neighbors. For once, Mother Nature was on our side. We got this crop in early – real early. I planted cotton the first week of April and kept it. That is very rare for our area. Our entire cotton crop was planted by May 10 with minimal replant, directly opposite of the 2009 year. Most of the area received very little rainfall, but, in the end, this was a blessing. Plus, a high percentage of the crop is irrigated. We had very little boll rot or hard lock, and harvest conditions, besides the dust, have been awesome. I have seen worse insect years by far, but the plant bugs were awful. Diamond and Orthene did an amazing job, and I can’t tell you how pleased I was with those two products.

Arsenal Of Products Used For Weed Control

Our biggest problem, however, is weed resistance. We just thought we had a problem with marestail, but, as usual, we applied a shot of Clarity, Valor and Roundup and finished off what was left with Ignite, which did a pretty good job this year. Pigweeds, however, are a different animal. This year we threw everything, including the kitchen sink, and I can honestly tell you there is no good recipe across a farmer’s acreage, and these weeds are getting worse each year. Roundup/LibertyLink cotton cannot get here quickly enough. It seems the best two products are Valor and Reflex. But both have limitations. To fight pigweeds, you need an arsenal of products. We start with Valor in our spring burndown, come back with Reflex right before planting (read the Reflex label for precautions) and get Dual out as quickly as we legally can when the cotton comes up. We sloppy direct Dual so as not to burn the cotton as much. We fight pigweeds from pre-emerge all the way to layby. This is the only way we have found to control them, and still escapes happen. We layby with Valor, Reflex or Direx. I must admit that our best pigweed control program for next year’s crop starts with controlling pigweeds fully with zero tolerance in this year’s crop.

This also was the first big year of the baler picker by Deere. It sure seems strange not seeing the boll buggies rolling around. But this is a sign of the times to come.  Let’s hope that dollar cotton is, too. I’d like to say thank you to all my wonderful growers, good consultant friends, close friends in this business and especially my wife. Thank you for helping me do something I enjoy so much. It’s been a pleasure working alongside all of you, and I hope we all have many more prosperous years to come.

Click here to ask David Hydrick a question or submit a comment about this month’s Cotton Consultant’s Corner.

• President of Hydrick’s Crop Consulting, Inc.

• Chief Financial Officer of Strike Zone Precision Ag and Field Concepts

• Chief Financial Officer and Chief Business Development Officer for Ag Software Designs

• B.S. in Entomology and M.S. in Weed Science – Mississippi State University, 1991 & 1993

• Member NAICC, CCA and past president of Arkansas Ag Consultants Association

• Married to Crystal Wylie Hydrick for 20 years Four sons: Tyler (18), Kadin (16), Tucker (14), Koby (12)

• Enjoys bowhunting, turkey hunting, watching high school and Mississippi State football, baseball, basketball and anyone who beats Ole Miss


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