facebook_pixel

As Cotton Prices Wane, Growers Turn To Precision Ag

From Cotton Grower Magazine – December 2015

Trends2016 Web  Examining some of the key trends that could impact cotton in 2016.

 

There’s no denying it. When it comes to trending topics in cotton production, precision agriculture is at the top of the list.

Cotton Incorporated recently conducted a comprehensive nationwide study to back up that claim, and the results were predictable as they were remarkable. Of the nearly 1,000 American cotton producers who were polled, 84% utilized at least one precision product or practice on the farm in 2015. That number has increased rapidly in recent years. But the Cotton Incorporated study also showed how beneficial precision management can be in terms of yield and overall profit.

“For example, we’ve found that people who are using soil sensors are getting more cotton per inch of water applied,” says Dr. Ed Barnes, Senior Director, Agricultural and Environmental Research Division at Cotton Incorporated. “And on top of that, their overall yields also appear to be higher than their neighbors who aren’t using this technology. We’ve seen that across a couple different technologies.”

One such technology or practice that has demonstrated a strong likelihood to increased yields has been grid-soil sampling. Consequently, Barnes points to it as the precision practice that has become most popular recently among American cotton producers.

“I think we’re over 46% adoption rate among those farmers who participated in our survey, who said they’re using that one practice,” Barnes says. “So that’s showing that that’s taking off, and it makes sense because people are finding that when you can fine tune the fertility in your field, it’s going to pay off. You’re either going to save fertilizer by not applying where you have low-yield potential, or, in those areas that are better producing, people are finding those areas are under-fertilized.”

As Barnes says, in the age of yield monitors and closely-watched averages, farmers can forget how much variance can occur within a single field.

“We forget, when you say ‘Oh I average two bales,’ well there are parts of that field that are doing much better than that. And so, that part of the field is pulling off more nutrients, so if you don’t replace those nutrients, that portion is not going to be the winner every time. That’s where we’re finding a lot of value in precision fertility management.”

Ultimately, soil sampling and precision fertility management are only two practices that offer immediately beneficial return on investment to American producers. Barnes has been vocal over the past year in an effort to extol the financial virtues of precision agriculture during difficult financial times.

“With the low price of cotton, we have to be very precise with our inputs, because there is no room for waste,” Barnes says. “One of the things I’ve learned from looking at where people make profit maps of the field – where you take your yield times the price of cotton and subtract out the variable costs – you’ll see parts of the field that are losing money and parts that are making money.

“It kind of dawned on me – if you can cut the inputs to those parts of the field that are losing money, you’ve got a lot less chance of going under water if you can eliminate that negative income part of your operation.”

The time is now, Barnes says, for cotton growers to take that first step into precision agriculture, if they haven’t already.

“When we’re on these really tight margins, this is actually when the technology pays the most – or is the most important.”

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Precision Technology Stories
Precision Technology

What You Need to Know Before Adding Drones

February 2, 2018

If you’re thinking about adding a drone to your farming operation, there are a few things you need to know before getting started.

Texas-Tech-University
Precision Technology

25 Best Colleges for Precision Agriculture

March 22, 2018

More and more students are focusing their studies on the quickly growing field of precision agriculture. Here's a list of the top precision ag programs at colleges and universities around the world.

Precision Technology

NC State Grad Students Surveying Precision Ag Use

March 20, 2018

A team of NC State University graduate students wants your input on how row crop growers are currently using precision agriculture in their farming operations.

Precision Technology

Are You a Precision Grower?

November 15, 2017

Gathering, analysis and application still seems to be the best basic definition of precision agriculture.

Precision Technology

Free Webinar Set on Defining Ag Data Ownership

November 2, 2017

A free webinar on November 13 hopes to answer some of the questions about who controls and has access to data generated on farms.

Precision Technology

Georgia Extension Testing Agricultural Water Use

October 17, 2017

A team of University of Georgia Extension specialists is studying agricultural irrigation to help increase the water-use efficiency in southern Georgia row crops.

PrecisionAg Vision Conference October 10-12, 2017 Phoenix AZ
Precision Technology

See How Technology Will Revolutionize Global Ag Production

September 20, 2017

The final agenda for the PrecisionAg® Vision Conference delivers high-impact keynotes, a track for specialty crops, and an Arizona field tour.

Around The Gin
Product News

FiberMax Honors One Ton Club Growers for 2017

April 17, 2018

The FiberMax One Ton Club recently honored 188 cotton growers who qualified for the club with their 2017 harvest results.

Product News

BASF Adds Engenia Spray Tool to Aid Applications

April 16, 2018

A new easy-to-use resource puts critical weather requirements for applying Engenia herbicide in one convenient location.

Product News

Reduce Timing Guesswork for Cotton Planting

April 16, 2018

Bayer’s online Cotton Planting Forecasting tool can help growers determine the optimal planting window to improve their chances at securing a strong stand.

Product News

Deltapine NPE Program Begins Class of 19 Evaluations

April 9, 2018

Nine Class of 19 variety candidates will be in growers’ fields this year as the Deltapine New Product Evaluator (NPE) Program kicks off its eleventh season.

Product News

Americot Expands Research and Sales Teams

April 5, 2018

Americot has added six new team members to the company’s research and sales staffs.

Product News

Greenleaf Introduces TipGuard Nozzle System

April 5, 2018

Greenleaf Technologies has introduced its new TipGuard System to protect spray tips from contact damage.

Product News

New BASF Reward Program for AR Growers Facing Dicamba Ban

March 27, 2018

BASF has revised its Grow Smart Rewards program to provide Arkansas growers alternative weed control solutions during the dicamba application ban from April 16 through October 31.

Product News

DuPont Vydate Products Fully Available for 2018

March 15, 2018

DuPont Vydate brand insecticide/nematicide products – including Vydate C-LV for cotton – will be fully available for sale and use during the 2018 growing season.

Latest News
Precision Technology

25 Best Colleges for Precision Agriculture

March 22, 2018

More and more students are focusing their studies on the quickly growing field of precision agriculture. Here's a list of the top precision ag programs at colleges and universities around the world.

Precision Technology

NC State Grad Students Surveying Precision Ag Use

March 20, 2018

A team of NC State University graduate students wants your input on how row crop growers are currently using precision agriculture in their farming operations.

Precision Technology

What You Need to Know Before Adding Drones

February 2, 2018

If you’re thinking about adding a drone to your farming operation, there are a few things you need to know before getting started.

Precision Technology

Putting Precision’s Promise to Work

December 21, 2017

At Ak-Chin Farms, a philosophy of efficiency shows the true value of precision agriculture.

Precision Technology

Research Shows Drones Can Help Crop Management

November 27, 2017

A University of Tennessee study shows that drones may help improve plant stand assessment.

Precision Technology

Are You a Precision Grower?

November 15, 2017

Gathering, analysis and application still seems to be the best basic definition of precision agriculture.

Precision Technology

Free Webinar Set on Defining Ag Data Ownership

November 2, 2017

A free webinar on November 13 hopes to answer some of the questions about who controls and has access to data generated on farms.

Precision Technology

Georgia Extension Testing Agricultural Water Use

October 17, 2017

A team of University of Georgia Extension specialists is studying agricultural irrigation to help increase the water-use efficiency in southern Georgia row crops.

Precision Technology

See How Technology Will Revolutionize Global Ag Production

September 20, 2017

The final agenda for the PrecisionAg® Vision Conference delivers high-impact keynotes, a track for specialty crops, and an Arizona field tour.

Precision Technology

Deere to Acquire Blue River Technology

September 7, 2017

Deere has signed an agreement to acquire Blue River Technology, a leader in applying machine learning to agriculture, for $305 million.

Precision Technology

Cotton Picking Robots?

August 25, 2017

Can an army of small robots change the way cotton is harvested? Dr. Ed Barnes thinks it’s not only possible, but highly probable.

Precision Technology

AMVAC Grants Trimble Global Distribution Rights for SIMPAS

August 22, 2017

AMVAC and Trimble are finalizing an agreement granting Trimble global distribution rights for AMVAC’s patented SIMPAS prescriptive application equipment.

Precision Technology

Precision Ag Southern Style

August 22, 2017

A customer-first focus helps Agri-AFC’s Amy Winstead keep the company's precision programs coordinated, on target…and growing.

Precision Technology

Keep an Eye on Those Droplets!

April 19, 2017

As growers embrace new herbicides, Ag Leader brings precision monitoring to the spray rig.

Precision Technology

Cotton Weeds Next Target for See & Spray

April 3, 2017

A dream machine that “sees” and treats weeds while leaving crops alone is headed for 2017 testing in cotton.