What does 4-bale cotton look like? Take a look at the sea of white in some of Mattson Farms’ fields to find out.
In 2012, Scott Flowers, Mattson Farms, Mattson, Miss., had his best cotton crop ever, averaging 2.8 bales per acre. But that was then and a 300-pound per acre increase is now: “We’re going to beat last year by about 300 pounds per acre.”
“It’s amazing how these crops are turning out. This cotton will be, by far, the best we’ve ever had. I don’t know if we’ll ever pick a cotton crop like this again."
Crop consultant Rob Lewis, Clarksdale, Miss., echoes Flowers’ outlook and says the growing season has been phenomenal. “For some of the fields, I believe the best is yet to come and some acreage is going to keep coming in at 4 bales per acre.”
Lewis says along with weather, other factors have played a role. “Fertility, rotation, weather, insect control, and even luck have resulted in a huge crop. Mattson Farms made 2.8 bales per acre in 2012 and I bet if you had asked Scott in the spring, ‘Would you take 2.8 bales again in 2013?’ he would have taken it to the bank. But now it’s at least 3.3 and it’s absolutely unbelievable.”
Flowers attributes the heavy yields to a host of factors, but weather in particular. “We haven’t picked anything under 3 bales per acre so far. The difference between this year and last year was out of our hands. We were blessed with our weather; a summer so mild that I didn’t see any of our crops heat stressed even one time.”
Mattson Farms, a partnership of Steve Cooke and brothers Scott and Graydon Flowers, planted 2,700 acres of cotton this year with five varieties: Deltapine 0912 and 1321; Phytogen 499; and Stoneville 4946 and 5288.
(For related, see Wolf Lake Farms set for major cotton harvest)
Scott makes it clear that despite weather and other factors lining up, Mattson Farms is indebted to a fine crew — top to bottom. “We’re just lucky to have the people on this farm that we do and they are what makes this a good operation. Our managers and workers are excellent and it plays out in a team effort. John Swilley manages the farm in Tunica and it’s in good hands. Down here, Joe Thomas is the head manager and working with him, we’ve got Peewee Gordon and Jessie Readus. Rob Lewis is our crop consultant and stays on top of insect control.
“All of these these guys are so sharp and take care of things. All our managers, the guys actually in the field, are really, really good and we’re lucky to have them. I look at it a little like a football team; everyone has to be good and they are.”
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