In addition to his own farming responsibilities, Pepper custom harvests for other farmers in his area. He and local farmers swap out time — when one farmer needs help, the others lend a hand and vice versa. Although money doesn’t change hands, this form of custom harvesting is profitable for all of the farms involved, he says. Custom equipment hauling is another business enterprise for the Roberts’ farm.
Among the challenges that Pepper and Crystal encountered during their early years of farming was the inefficiency of using 8-row equipment to work the land.
“We couldn’t cover all of our acres in a timely manner, nor could we increase acres without more tractors and equipment,” Pepper says. “Converting to 12-row equipment solved both problems. Another solution to inefficiency was through use of GPS AutoTrac and RTK guidance systems. These give us greater accuracy in fieldwork and harvesting.”
As they began to acquire more land through the years, Pepper says they ran into a problem in not having enough spray booms to cover the additional acreage.
“I figured the expense of hiring custom applicators and aerial applicators to spray our fields. The solution was to purchase a self-propelled high clearance sprayer.”
With area farmers planting less cotton and more, the result was long lines at the local elevator, so they added four 50,000-bushel grain bins on the farm, which allow them to start harvesting high moisture corn early and deliver it as it is marketed.