facebook_pixel

Keeping Cotton in the Family

As many farm families already know, these aren’t the easiest of times to add a second generation to an operation. Between higher premiums on acreage, reduced credit lending and higher input costs, the timeless tradition of sons joining their fathers in the family business is quickly becoming a harder row to hoe.

But the Gathright family of Monette, AR, is proving that the transition can succeed in the 21st century, as long as those involved are willing to keep their options open when it comes to more progressive farming techniques.

Dennis, who has farmed on his own since 1973, recently brought his son Justin into the family business, and the two have formed a relationship that many families are finding beneficial.

“Dad relies on me to keep up with the technology. We make the big decisions together,” says Justin. “I guess he’s what you would call old school. I’m new school. I’ll make a suggestion and he’ll say, ‘well that’s not how we did it last year, or five years ago.’ Sometimes I have to talk him into the fact that the way we do things now is going to be a little different.”

The Gathwright’s farm is comprised of 3,400 acres in the Arkansas Delta, and they devote 100% of that land to growing cotton. Justin says the family is sticking with cotton, even through the tough times. The main reasoning behind that line of thought, Justin says, is that the family’s entire infrastructure is in the crop, and they feel it is still a viable option. With that in mind, the family is more than willing to invest in the cutting edge of farming techniques.

Straight Down the Row

“We use the John Deere RTK guidance systems, the sub-one-inch accuracy. There’s so much stuff you can do with it. We use it for putting our rows up. One of the advantages of using that system is the straighter rows. It helps with our early irrigation, and it really helps with driver fatigue. You can get more done in a day’s time because it really drives itself,” says Justin.

On the advice of their consultant, the Gathrights also take soil samples after every crop, making the next year’s fertilizer decisions based off of those samples. It was this type of willingness to experiment in their techniques that made the Gathrights a prime candidate for participation in the Bayer CropScience Cotton Agronomic Performance (CAP) Trials.

“My reaction (when approached by Bayer about the CAP trials) was that I was very interested, because it not only benefits me but everyone in this area to see what the varieties we will be planting in the future will do in our area,” Justin says. He noted that the Stoneville varieties have already paid dividends on his operation, as some early season stress revealed great vigor in the Stoneville varieties.

“We planted about 2700 acres of ST 4554B2RF, 400 acres of ST 4498B2RF, and 200 acres of ST 5458B2RF. The Stoneville varieties come out of the ground growing and they have proven themselves to us year after year,” Gathright says. “The grades are really good and the turnouts have been really good, too.”

While the current market is keeping the Gathrights’ operation, 2G Farms, Inc., from experimenting as much as they might like to, Justin says the family has no plans to switch to alternate crops in the coming year. With any luck, the Gathrights’ willingness to experiment with new techniques will continue to pay off as the market looks to rebound in the years ahead.

Leave a Reply

Planting Stories
Planting

Timely Rains Boost Panhandle Cotton

August 11, 2017

Timely and widespread rains in the Texas Panhandle arrived in time to help put fields on track for a good season.

Planting

More Cotton, Less Grain Likely in Texas in 2017

February 24, 2017

Cotton acres in Texas will likely increase this season, as producers seek an alternative to grains.

Planting

Optimize Irrigation and Fertility in High Plains Cotton

February 21, 2017

With many producers in the northern High Plains considering cotton this year, optimizing irrigation and fertility will be important to their bottom line.

Planting

Field Prep Underway for South TX Planting

February 2, 2017

With spring planting a few weeks away, growers in south Texas are making good progress on field preparation.

Planting

Cover Crop Costs Recovered on Rolling Plains Cotton

December 28, 2016

Irrigated cotton producers on the Texas Rolling Plains could potentially be reaping more dollars per acre if they include a cover crop on their continuous cotton.

Planting

Increasing Planter Capacity: Go Faster or Wider?

October 11, 2016

New technologies are giving growers more options to speed up planting. The best solution is the one better suited for your field shape and size.

Planting

Managing Cotton after Uneven Emergence

June 13, 2016

Mississippi State University specialists offer guidelines for managing cotton fields with uneven plant maturity.

Around The Gin
Product News

Americot Adds Three to Regional Sales Force

September 20, 2017

Americot, Inc. has added three new regional representatives to the company’s sales force.

Product News

Enlist One Herbicide Added to Enlist System

September 13, 2017

Dow AgroSciences adds a straight-goods 2,4-D choline herbicide for additional tank-mix flexibility in Enlist crops.

Product News

Elevore Herbicide Registered for Burndown Use

August 30, 2017

Dow AgroSciences’ Elevore herbicide has received federal registration for use in fall and spring burndown programs for cotton, soybeans and corn.

Product News

Stoneville Legacy Club Honors Charter Members

August 24, 2017

The new Stoneville Legacy Club honored 129 growers who recorded average yields of 1,794 lbs/A or higher on at least 20 acres with Stoneville cotton varieties.

Product News

Improved Bollworm Management Expected in 2018

August 23, 2017

Southeast Texas cotton farmers should have new tools available in 2018 to better manage bollworms and other potentially damaging pests.

Product News

Maximizer Club Honors Top FiberMax Dryland Growers

August 17, 2017

The FiberMax Maximizer Club honored 121 growers who yielded at least 1,000 lb/A on dryland acres with FiberMax varieties in 2016.

Product News

Monsanto, Valent Expand Roundup Ready PLUS Partnership

August 7, 2017

Monsanto and Valent U.S.A. are expanding their crop protection partnership for the 2018 Roundup Ready PLUS Crop Management Solutions platform.

Product News

New Broadleaf Burndown Option Coming from Dow AgroSciences

July 31, 2017

A new burndown option for tough broadleaf weeds has shown excellent promise in trials across the Mid-South and Midwest.

Latest News
Planting

Timely Rains Boost Panhandle Cotton

August 11, 2017

Timely and widespread rains in the Texas Panhandle arrived in time to help put fields on track for a good season.

Planting

TX Cotton Growers Watching Moisture Levels Closely

May 25, 2017

There is some concern that soil moisture in 2017 could be problematic, especially for Texas dryland cotton producers.

Planting

Seven Tips for Successful Cotton Planting

April 19, 2017

According to NC State Cotton Specialist Guy Collins, growers need to keep seven tips in mind at planting to help ensure a successful cotton stand.

Planting

More Cotton, Less Grain Likely in Texas in 2017

February 24, 2017

Cotton acres in Texas will likely increase this season, as producers seek an alternative to grains.

Planting

Optimize Irrigation and Fertility in High Plains Cotton

February 21, 2017

With many producers in the northern High Plains considering cotton this year, optimizing irrigation and fertility will be important to their bottom line.

Planting

Field Prep Underway for South TX Planting

February 2, 2017

With spring planting a few weeks away, growers in south Texas are making good progress on field preparation.

Planting

Cover Crop Costs Recovered on Rolling Plains Cotton

December 28, 2016

Irrigated cotton producers on the Texas Rolling Plains could potentially be reaping more dollars per acre if they include a cover crop on their continuous cotton.

Planting

Increasing Planter Capacity: Go Faster or Wider?

October 11, 2016

New technologies are giving growers more options to speed up planting. The best solution is the one better suited for your field shape and size.

Planting

Managing Cotton after Uneven Emergence

June 13, 2016

Mississippi State University specialists offer guidelines for managing cotton fields with uneven plant maturity.

Planting

Guidelines for Replanting Decisions

May 24, 2016

There are no definitive guidelines for making replant decisions. But a list of factors to consider may help make those decisions a bit easier.

Planting

Improved Soil Moisture for Most Texas Cotton Fields

May 4, 2016

Improved soil moisture in most cotton fields in Texas are pushing growth and maturity in early-planted acres and are setting up the state’s northern acres for good planting conditions.

Planting

USDA Projects 9.56 Million Cotton Acres in 2016

March 31, 2016

USDA’s March 31 Prospective Plantings report projects that U.S. cotton growers will plant 9.56 million acres in 2016 – an 11% increase over last year.

Planting

March Rainfall Could Mean More Cotton Acreage

March 29, 2016

More acres may be shifting back to cotton in 2016. For producers who may be planting cotton for the first time in several years, variety selection can be a formidable challenge.

Planting

Preplant Burndown Time in NC

March 8, 2016

Mid-March through early April is the ideal time for preplant burndown applications in North Carolina cotton fields.

Planting

Reference Guides Online for Proper Variety Placement

March 2, 2016

Charts to help provide guidance to growers on properly placing and managing cotton varieties are now available online from Mississippi State University.