It seems that the older I get, the more I tend to learn or maybe the correct word is “understand” more. I have been consulting for 23 years and still consider myself to be a young man in the business even though I am 46.
To the younger guys, I guess I have now become one of the old guys. I have always been a person who very much respected his father and elders and still do even to this day. That generation has seen more and been exposed to more adversity and problems than I probably ever will.
I have learned from their experiences and followed their advice, and it certainly made me not only a better person but a better consultant.
When I started consulting, we did everything for the producer and still do. We did planter calibrations, sprayer calibration (which generally was an eight- or 12-row boom), cultivator setting and post-direct rig calibration and various other calibrations and settings. I ran all over the fields chasing this equipment with calibration cups and a pocketful of wrenches and a stop watch. I always made all the herbicide, insecticide and fungicide recommendations, and we were always putting some herbicide out behind the planter and post directing herbicides on our cotton crop.
A layby application was the last herbicide application of the year on the crop. When the layby applications were done, the cultivators got parked for the year, and this was a sign that herbicide applications were finished for the cotton crop for that year.
The bottom line was that we always were putting residuals out on our cotton crop from start to finish. My older cotton farmers always told me from the beginning how important residual herbicides were for weed control, and that we did not have any over-the-top herbicides for escapes.
Hand hoeing or “chopping” was the last resort for weed control, but it was done quite often in dry years when our residuals did not get activated by rainfall. Through all of this, we managed to keep our cotton crops fairly clean, and we managed to get our cotton crop picked without too much problem other than a bent bar or two here and there.
We knew what it took to grow a clean cotton crop and how to make the herbicides we had available work for us. During this time of consulting, I became VERY familiar with all the cotton herbicides and which ones were the best in every situation. Some herbicides were better in sand than in clay, and others were better on certain weeds than others.
I also gathered data from my own field trials, as well as tons of information from Extension. The one comment from producers through the years was: “Can’t wait ‘til we get a herbicide to go over the top of this cotton crop.” Years passed by and finally we got Roundup Ready cotton, and everyone was excited.
Three applications of Roundup, and our crop was as clean as it has ever been. Who needed residuals when we had Roundup? Farmers started planting more acres, and equipment was getting bigger and faster. I began to listen to my older farmers tell me to enjoy this technology while we could because it would not be here forever. Watch out, they told me. It will be here before you know it.
Guess what? Those producers, whom I cherish so much to this day, were right. The younger generation of cotton farmer is finding out that what is old is now new. This growing season we will see a multitude of herbicides applied to our cotton crops that our fathers and elders used 20 years ago because of resistance.
With that in mind, remember to learn and listen from your elders. Primo Baioni, Joe Pirani, Adolph Pirani, Allen Helms Sr., Frank Fogleman and my father Eddy Farr. I say thank you to my elders for the knowledge you have given to me over the years.
– Chuck Farr, Crawfordsville, Ark.
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