I think all farmers are trying to improve their bottom lines, and that means they have to look at a lot of different technologies and gain a feel for what will have the greatest impact on their operations. Just remember that you can’t use all of them at once because there is a steep learning curve. But you have to start somewhere. We’re all learning, and even the experts don’t have all the answers.
I’ve always looked at the situation and tried to figure out where the producer is now, and where does he want to be in the final analysis? What is the producer’s expectation? What does he want to achieve? Once I understand the answers to those questions, I can start helping a farmer with what might be best for his farm. It also helps if he is committed to the technology and wants to use it.
With so much new technology going into cotton research, it means that farmers must make quicker decisions to take advantage of these new tools. If they wait two or three years, they will potentially give up huge yield increases. This is definitely a complicated process, and it is overwhelming for the farmer out there trying to make the right decision. What it all boils down to is the need for a strong relationship between the farmer and his seed salesman, consultant and Extension specialist. All of us need to earn the trust of the farmer in order to take advantage of these new opportunities.
We’ve taken advantage of technology, and it’s definitely paid off for us. But with the high cost of production, you really have to understand what you can afford. I’ve been farming for 48 years, and I have a pretty good feel for what will work on my farm. Technology is amazing, and I’m sure it will continue to push farming to higher levels of yields and quality. Somehow, we just need to figure out how to market our crops and deal with these high input costs. That’s what I’m concerned about right now as we look to the future.
I tell my customers all the
time that they need to attend a lot of meetings and educate themselves
on the issues that affect their operations. I also think it’s
important for every farmer to have a consultant who can help him with
these decisions and make sense of all this information. For the most
part, our farmers in West Tennessee and Missouri have learned the importance
of preparing for situations that affect their farms down the road. For
example, we’ve been preparing for the pigweed problem for three
or four years, and it’s paying off for us this year.