Setting New Yield Limits

From Cotton Grower Magazine – June 2014

 

Like many of his neighbors in and around Maury City, TN, cotton producer Tommy Butner grew up around cotton.

For decades he’s been a dryland farmer, relying on usually ample Mid-South rainfall to scratch out his cotton, corn, wheat and bean crops. As any dryland farmer will tell you, though, Mother Nature doesn’t operate on schedule.

While many of the growers in his area have added acreage or installed irrigation systems, Butner has chosen a different path. He says he subscribes to a philosophy of making the most out of the hand he’s been dealt.

“I had a landlord once who told me something that I think about a lot,” Butner says. “He said ‘Son, it’s not about how much land you work, it’s what you make off of the land you work.’ I have got some good land, and I’m lucky to make good yield off of it. I could be working more land, but it costs the same to put in a rough cheap farm that won’t make, as it does to put in a good farm. You might say I’m just picky.”

That philosophy has paid off in the last two seasons. Over a career that spans a full three decades, Butner made the best crop he’s ever raised in 2012, when he averaged 2.6 bales an acre thanks to a series of timely rains. In 2013, he averaged 2.2 bales an acre, despite having to replant as many as three times due to a wet and cold spring.

“If the weather had cooperated and the fog had lifted, I would have had just as good of a year as 2012,” Butner says. “That’s just how it goes.”

Despite coming just short of his goals, Butner still did so well in 2013 that PhytoGen selected him as the company’s Best Yield Club Winner for Tennessee. It seems ironic that his soaring success the past two years can be traced back to one of the worst crop seasons he ever experienced, just seven years ago.

Westward Bound

The 2007 growing season was a rotten one for Butner – “dry as a bone” as he says. After it became clear that his crop wasn’t going to turn out well, a friend called to see if he wanted to travel to the High Plains of Texas to do some custom harvesting. With a wife and three children at home, Butner was hesitant to leave his Tennessee home, but his friend was persistent.

“They told me the man would furnish the module builders and I’d only need to bring the picker,” Butner says. “I decided to do it, and it turned out to be a good decision. I stayed out in San Angelo, TX, and picked somewhere around 3,300 bales. It was some good cotton.”

Aside from finding some excellent cotton farms, Butner also found great people in the San Angelo area. One of whom, PhytoGen’s Scott Fuchs, naturally started to ask about Butner’s own farm back in Tennessee. As a cotton development specialist for PhytoGen, Fuchs was well versed in how his company’s varieties had been succeeding in the Mid-South.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Cotton Production Stories
Cotton Production

2016 Georgia Cotton Production Guide Now Online

May 3, 2016

The University of Georgia’s 2016 Cotton Production Guide is now available online.

Cotton Production

University of Georgia Schedules Insect Scout Schools

April 28, 2016

The University of Georgia has scheduled two insect scouting schools in June to provide training for insect monitoring in cotton, peanuts and soybeans.

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.

Production Outlook / Acreage

Considering Soil Health

February 22, 2016

Soil health improvement is needed for long-term goal-oriented management tailored to the soils in each field.

Production Outlook / Acreage

Georgia Cotton Enterprise Budgets Available Online

February 16, 2016

The University of Georgia’s Cotton Enterprise Budgets for 2016 are now available online.

Production Outlook / Acreage

NCC Survey Predicts 9.1 Million U.S. Cotton Acres in 2016

February 7, 2016

U.S. cotton producers intend to plant 9.1 million cotton acres this spring, according to the National Cotton Council’s 35th Annual Early Season Planting Intentions Survey.

Around The Gin
Product News

Meister Media Worldwide Website Relaunches With New Resources

April 22, 2016

Meister Media Worldwide — publisher of Cotton Grower magazine – has relaunched its corporate website, highlighting information and services available from one of agriculture’s leading media companies.

Product News

ReinCloud Promises Remote Control

April 18, 2016

New software set to combine irrigation management and data collection – all in the palm of your hand.

Product News

Search Begins for Deltapine Class of 17

April 14, 2016

Deltapine’s NPE program is nine years old, and the search for the company’s Class of 17 cotton varieties is underway.

Product News

Texas Farmer First to Plant Enlist Cotton Variety

April 11, 2016

Dean Hansen of El Campo, TX, was the first cotton grower in North America to plant the first commercially-available cottonseed with the Enlist cotton trait.

Product News

New Options for Roundup Ready PLUS Program

March 25, 2016

The Roundup Ready PLUS Crop Management Solutions program for 2016 includes a new tool for weed management and new incentives for farmers looking to fight insect pests in corn.

Product News

Greenleaf Launches easyFlow Closed Transfer System

March 24, 2016

Greenleaf Technologies has launched the company’s new easyFlow closed transfer system for the North American market.

Product News

AgLogic Launches Aldicarb Product in Georgia

March 15, 2016

Growers in Georgia will be able to use a new aldicarb pesticide in 2016 for nematode and early season pest control.

Product News

Moss Joins Mid-South Team for Brake Herbicide

February 29, 2016

Ag sales veteran Larry Moss has joined SePRO Corporation as a technical specialist for Brake herbicide in the Mid-South.

Latest News
Cotton Production

2016 Georgia Cotton Production Guide Now Online

May 3, 2016

The University of Georgia’s 2016 Cotton Production Guide is now available online.

Cotton Production

University of Georgia Schedules Insect Scout Schools

April 28, 2016

The University of Georgia has scheduled two insect scouting schools in June to provide training for insect monitoring in cotton, peanuts and soybeans.

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.

Production Outlook / Acreage

Considering Soil Health

February 22, 2016

Soil health improvement is needed for long-term goal-oriented management tailored to the soils in each field.

Production Outlook / Acreage

Georgia Cotton Enterprise Budgets Available Online

February 16, 2016

The University of Georgia’s Cotton Enterprise Budgets for 2016 are now available online.

Production Outlook / Acreage

NCC Survey Predicts 9.1 Million U.S. Cotton Acres in 2016

February 7, 2016

U.S. cotton producers intend to plant 9.1 million cotton acres this spring, according to the National Cotton Council’s 35th Annual Early Season Planting Intentions Survey.

Planting

Clemson: Focus on Insect Management, Proper Variety Selection

February 4, 2016

Clemson Extension specialists point to insect management and proper variety selection as keys to help SC cotton producers grow more profitable crops in 2016.

Planting

SC Cotton Growers Look to Rebound from 2015 Flood

January 28, 2016

After South Carolina’s cotton crop was essentially flooded out in 2015, what’s in store for the state’s growers this year?

Production Outlook / Acreage

Arkansas Extension Issues New Risk Management Resources

January 22, 2016

The University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service has developed a series of risk management resources to help growers manage their farming decisions in a time of increased uncertainty for agriculture.

Cotton Production

Agenda Set for Tennessee Cotton Focus Meeting

January 21, 2016

Specialists from three states and the National Cotton Council are on the agenda for the 2016 Tennessee Cotton Focus meeting on February 18.

Planting

Market Prices Impacting Early 2016 Crop Decisions

January 19, 2016

As farmers in the Rio Grande Valley try to finalize cropping decisions before planting begins in the coming weeks, many are still struggling with what to plant. For some, that will likely be cotton.

Cotton Production

NC State Issues 2016 Cotton Planning Info

January 5, 2016

Two documents are now available online from NC State Extension to help with planning and preparation for the state’s 2016 cotton crop.