“The ability to irrigate can help to lessen the risk involved in growing a crop like corn that needs water for maximum yield,” Clint says. “And it can make a big difference in cotton, too — last year, on one of our farms we got 1.6 bales non-irrigated and 2.25 bales with irrigation.

“Crop insurance just isn’t that practical for farms in this area. You can pour your heart and soul into a crop, and with production costs as high as they are, a crop failure can take you down in a hurry. So, irrigation is our form of crop insurance.

“Irrigating is still a learning experience for us, but we’ve been pleased with results and will continue to expand our irrigation potential.”

In 2011, the Tindalls grew only cotton, but this year are adding corn back into the mix for the rotation benefit and to help with nematodes and to try and hold off glyphosate-resistant weeds.

“Thus far, we’ve only had resistant marestail,” Clint says, “but there has been some resistant pigweed in neighboring Chickasaw County, and we want to do all we can to keep it from getting a foothold on our land. Our burndown program the last three years has been with 2,4-D, and that has worked well; we’ve had only a few marestail escapes.”

Their crop plan this year is for 1,700 acres of cotton and 1,000 of corn.

For cotton, Clint says, “We like Deltapine 1133-B2RF on our stronger ground. Last year, some of our dryland picked 2.3 to 3 bales.  On some of our irrigated fields, where we watered twice, we got 3.1 bales, which is excellent.

“We put Deltapine 1137-B2RF on our more marginal land and it did really well — we had some fields yielding in the 2.5 bale range. On our thinner, tougher ground, we planted Deltapine 1048 B2RF, and it did well also, with yields in the 2.25 to 2.5 bale range in places. We’ve been very pleased with the performance of all these varieties.”

Last year’s purchase of a CaseIH 625 module builder picker made a tremendous difference in the efficiency of their harvesting operations, he says.

“It was a like-new 2008 machine that we bought from Hood Equipment, and aside from the speed and efficiency, a big advantage has been in freeing our people up to do other things. With our previous operation, we were running four 4-row pickers and the associated boll buggies and module builders. It took a lot of people just to fill the seats and keep things moving.

“Now, we no longer need all that extra equipment — just one man to tarp the modules. In addition to the labor savings, there’s a lot of $4 diesel we don’t burn by eliminating all that extra machinery. We’re so pleased with it, we’re going to take a look at adding another one.”

They will keep a couple of the 4-row pickers as insurance for the very wet fall that may come along, Clint says. “Fully loaded, the new picker weighs about 30 tons and it would bog down in wet fields.”

Their cotton is ginned at Calhoun Gin at Calhoun City and at Doolittle Gin at Cadaretta. He says they hold out a bale per acre to market themselves and market the rest through Staplcotn and V&M Cotton Company.

“We’re really fortunate that our insect problems are light compared to the Delta. Last year, plant bugs were very light, and some fields weren’t sprayed at all. We did spray a few cotton fields where the plant bugs were moving out of corn.”

Wherever possible, Clint says, their production is no-till. “We’ve been doing some breaking on fields where we’re changing to 12-row.”