About midway through the season Walker started noticing that there might be something special about the cotton crop. “At first, I kept telling the ownership that the cotton was pretty good, then that it was going to be a little better than I budgeted. Then as we got further into the year, I told them that maybe the cotton was a lot better than I had budgeted.”

In fact, at the end of the season, one of the biggest concerns for Walker and his crop consultant Richard Griffin was getting the crop to slow down. It took some doing. “We hit it with Pix for three weeks in a row. Finally the last application of Pix shut it down a little bit.”

Cotton fields remained dry on the farm as Walker prepared for defoliation and picking. He applied one shot of Dropp and Prep, followed by Prep, Folex, Dropp and surfactant.

Once the cotton crop opened up, rain continued to hold off for the most part, minimizing boll rot, Walker said. “We knew it was really good before we defoliated. I had counted a lot of bolls, and there were as many as seven on a branch. There were almost no missing fruit on the first and second positions.”

   For U.S. cotton industry, it’s all about staying positive

Earlier in the spring, Walker had budgeted 900 pounds for dryland cotton and 1,200 pounds for irrigated cotton. As it turned out, irrigated yields on the farm averaged about 1,370 pounds, on about 550 acres, while dryland yields were right at 1,700 pounds an acre, on 1,700 acres. Due to timely rains during the season, irrigation costs across all crops were about $200,000 less than budgeted.

Walker, who ginned the farm’s cotton at Tanner Gin and Catavoy Gin, sold unpriced cotton into the cash market, selling the last 900 bales at a little over 76 cents a pound.

Walker, whose experience includes a stint as a research farm manager at the LSU AgCenter’s Northeast Research Station in St. Joseph, La., says timeliness, paying attention to detail and good labor are keys to making a good crop, which is even more of a challenge on a large operation. “I am extremely fortunate to Shannon Gray and Bill Williams who are my farm managers.”

The farm employs about 50 people, including a number of H-2A employees from Mexico. This season after harvest, and a few days before Thanksgiving, the farm took time to show Angelina Ag’s appreciation to them.

“They’re going back tomorrow, so we moved Thanksgiving dinner up. Most of them have been coming here for 10 years. They know our program. They know what we do. We couldn’t farm without them.”

When asked why he decided to plant PHY 499 WRF on the farm, Walker said the variety was recommended by two retailers he works with regularly. “Plus I had three good friends that had been growing cotton a long time, and the PHY 499 WRF was the No. 1 on the lists that they gave me.”

With the great yields across the farm, and an extraordinary 4.5 bale yield on one 250 acre field, he probably owes them a dinner too.


Ag news delivered daily to your inbox: Subscribe to Delta Farm Press Daily.