In 2010, those producers who farm north of the primary Cotton Belt in Georgia were part of the lucky few who received timely rains and good harvest weather. Marvin Ruark is one of those producers.
“We are over halfway through, and we’ve got as good a crop as we’ve had in several years,” he says.
Ruark farms with his brother James and their sons, Mark and John, respectively, about 20 miles west of Athens.
“This used to be the largest cotton growing area in north Georgia,” he says. “Now, there are about 10 cotton farmers left in the area.
“We’ve got a pocket of cotton up here, and we’ve stayed with it. It’s pretty stable at this point, especially with the price the way it is now.”
Influence Of Pigweed
Ruark says newer varieties, the selection of which his son mostly handles, seem to be working out well.
“We are having to change a few things to adjust to pigweed,” he says. “We changed varieties so that we could use different chemicals. We pulled weeds all summer long. We aren’t too bad now, but it can get bad quick, so we’ll try to do what we can.”
Put On A Top Crop
Ruark, who is vice chairman of the Georgia Cotton Commission, says most of the acreage in his area is dryland.
“We got some timely rains,” Ruark says. “I think we got enough heat units to finish up early, and then we got a little more rain and a top crop, which helps us substantially this year.”
As for Ruark Farms, Marvin Ruark says they plant from 800 to 1,000 acres of cotton each year. They also produce wheat, soybeans, turfgrass, broiler chickens and beef cattle.
Even with the increased price of cotton, Ruark says they are not likely change anything.
“We will probably maintain our stable rotation,” he says. “Wheat prices are good; soybean prices are good; corn prices are good. Hopefully, it will stay that way because it costs a lot of money to farm.”
Just A Cotton Year
But 2011 is a worry for another day, as Ruark says they still have cotton in the field.
“We’re picking now and keeping it ginned up. We have been getting about a bale and a half to two bales and have had some really good harvest weather.
“It’s one of those years when everything seems to be going well,” Ruark says. “It’s just a cotton year.”
Contact Amanda Huber at (352) 486-7006 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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