Grower Perspective

Cotton producer finds new tools to improve farm management

A Midsouth ginner and cotton producer shares a few ideas on how to improve yields, control tough weeds and manage inputs across cotton and soybeans.

In agriculture, innovation is the mother of longevity. New solutions to common challenges make it possible to pass the business to future generations.

Tennessee ginner and cotton producer John Lindamood applies that truth to his farming operation and the Phoenix Gin in Tiptonville, which celebrates its centennial in 2021. He continually searches for ways to evolve his businesses for greater efficiencies, profitability and sustainability.

When new herbicide technologies became available in cotton varieties five years ago, Lindamood evaluated the Enlist weed control system and dicamba-based system for several seasons. That’s when he decided to go 100% with the Enlist system on his cotton acres.

“We choose PhytoGen cottonseed because of the yields and grades, coupled with the ease of weed control with the Enlist system,” Lindamood said. “If we do what we’re supposed to do — use the correct spray tips and pressure, pay attention to wind speed and direction — then we can spray right up to another field without fear of damage. When we spray an Enlist herbicide, we know it’s going to stay where we put it. It’s not going to get up and move after the application.”

When Lindamood first planted PhytoGen® W3FE varieties, his postemergence herbicide program included a tank mix of Enlist One® herbicide and glyphosate, followed by an application of Liberty® herbicide (glufosinate) 10 to 14 days later. He now tank-mixes Enlist One and glufosinate for excellent weed control, improved herbicide stewardship and fewer trips across the field.

His yields also improved with the new PhytoGen W3FE varieties. Before the newer varieties, Lindamood was averaging around 1,000 pounds per acre. With the genetics in newer PhytoGen W3FE varieties, his average yields have increased to 1,250 pounds. Those numbers were even better in 2020.

“The yields we’ve seen have been phenomenal. We averaged about 1,350 pounds in 2020, which is 150 pounds higher than our 5-year average,” Lindamood said. “And our grades were really good, running from 54 to 56 cents loan value.”

In 2019, Lindamood grew seed production for Pioneer® brand Enlist E3® soybeans to see if they would work well with his cotton management. He planted 300 acres of Pioneer Enlist E3 soybeans surrounded by PhytoGen W3FE cotton. The soybeans yielded 60 to 65 bushels/A. “Very comparable to the other beans we are raising,” Lindamood said. The bigger benefit was the synergies in weed management.   

“One benefit is the convenience of not having to swap technologies midstream. You can stay with the same chemistry,” Lindamood said. “You don’t have to worry about cross-contamination in your tanks and making a mistake. It doesn’t take too many mistakes to get into your pocketbook.”

Another way Lindamood embraces innovation and avoids potential mishaps is with Granular Business farm management software, a product from the digital platform of Corteva Agriscience. He and farm manager Daniel Arant use it to plan, execute and monitor field activity. Through Granular Business, they create custom-tailored plans for each field and assign tasks for their team. Lindamood provides each employee a smartphone with the Granular Business app, so they get automated instructions when driving a planter or spray rig into a field.   

“When someone pulls into a field, they will get a notification similar to a text message confirming where they are and what task needs to be completed,” Arant said. “They click start, do their assigned task, and click stop when they are finished. Granular then calculates hours, acres, inputs used, equipment and labor costs, so we can analyze our budgets. It’s a great tool for both field operations and managing the financial side.”

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