Anthony Martin is a cotton and peanut producer in Jenkins County, Ga. Like most cotton producers this year, he is really looking forward to the 2011 production season.
“I am ready to go; I’m ready to get it in the ground,” Martin says.
Understandably, it would be hard for any producer to conceal his excitement for this coming season after having to wait all winter while watching the price climb higher and higher.
“I sold some cotton for $1.70,” Martin says. “It got up higher, but I was really concerned that they would stop buying.”
Martin produces 600 acres of cotton and 200 acres of peanuts. About half of his crop is under irrigation.
Uses Soil Moisture Probes
“I have approximately 400 acres that are irrigated, and the other half dryland, and I rent some dryland acres as well,” he says.
Martin, who lives about 90 miles from Savannah on the eastern-central side of Georgia, says he previously used an irrigation scheduling method, but recently switched to using soil moisture probes.
“I use the soil moisture probes to know when to irrigate, and, using GPS, I have a guy who makes maps for me of the soil pH and other nutrient needs,” he adds.
Variable Rate Improved Soil
With the maps, a chip is created that is put into the spreader’s computer system and tells the spreader where potash or lime is needed in the field.
“We used to get out there and spread a ton of lime everywhere,” he says. “Now when you drive through the field, the spreader turns off and on, and it only puts out lime where it’s needed.”
Martin says he can tell that the variable-rate system has helped.
“The land has improved,” he says. “I believe variable-rate has really gotten it into pretty good shape.”
During the winter and early spring, Martin says he and his farmhand installed GPS systems on the tractor and the ground application rig.
“With AutoSteer, my guy was able to spray last night, and it showed him the way,” he says.
More Water For Better Coverage
Martin says he and his crew are still putting out burndown and waiting on the soil temperature to warm up before planting. Like many producers, he has had to battle glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth.
“Using Ignite has held them down pretty good, but you have to catch them when they are three inches or smaller,” he says.
“We also put out a high rate of water with the spray – 20 gallons of water instead of 15 – and we got better coverage on the weeds, and it worked pretty good.”
Still, Martin says he has had to pull a few pigweed by hand to keep them from reaching the seeding-out stage.
Getting Better At It
Martin says he planted a lot of FiberMax 1845 in the last couple of years. This year he may plant some Deltapine seed.
“I’ve got some Stoneville and Liberty Link seed to try this year,” he says. “They should work well with the FiberMax varieties.”
Martin uses strip-tillage and has for more than 16 years. Although he says he is a better peanut farmer than cotton farmer, he says he’s gotten better at it.
“We average about 1,250 pounds, and peanuts averaged about 4,600 pounds per acre in 2010,” says Martin, who came back to the farm in 1968 and has been farming ever since.
Contact Amanda Huber at (352) 486-7006 or firstname.lastname@example.org.