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Proclaiming themselves "just country farmers," Colin Collins and his brother David, along with Colin’s son Clay, run a 1,500 acre soybean operation, plus timber land, in Union County, Miss., and in the best Jeffersonian tradition, lead lives of myriad interests, community service, neighborliness, independence, and self-sufficiency.
DAVID COLLINS, from left, his brother Colin, and Colin’s son, Clay, grow soybeans, and sometimes corn, in Union County, Miss.
Wild hogs, deer a problem
As is increasingly the case in many areas of the state, wild hogs and deer are a problem, Colin says. “We lost 20-25 acres last year to hogs, and we had to replant 15-20 acres twice due to deer damage.
“Over a period of 8 months, we trapped 239 wild hogs, but they’re still gaining on us. Last year, was the worst damage we’ve ever had. And they’re getting smarter — it’s much harder to trap them than it once was. Some area farmers have had to stop growing corn because of the hogs. Fire ants and coyotes are also a problem.”
To that end, Colin is working within the Farm Bureau to try and get support for legislation that would curtail ownership or transporting of non-native species that could become invasive.
Their farm machinery lineup, all John Deere, includes two 4955 tractors, a 4760, 4840, 4640, and 4230; Deere 9600 and 7720 combines, and an Agco Spra-Coupe.
“We don’t have auto-steer on our sprayer,” David says, “but we do have GPS and automatic boom section control. Eliminating overspray saves a lot of money. I used to turn the five boom sections on and off manually, but it nearly drove me nuts. Then I got the GPS boom section control system and that eliminated a big headache. It’s a necessity in my book.”
They did add one new equipment item this year, a spreader truck. David says “You can get small 12 volt cameras and monitors for practically nothing online, now-a-days, so I got two for the new spreader truck — one so we can see how much material there is in the hopper and another mounted at the rear so we can see the drag chain and spinners moving.”
“Lime really pays off for us,” Colin says. “It has made a big difference — on some fields, we’ve seen a doubling of yield.”
Although their collegiate loyalty is to Ole Miss, both Colin and David readily acknowledge their appreciation for the help and advice from Mississippi State University specialists and researchers. “We’ve got a lot of friends in Extension, and they’ve been a real asset to us over the years,” Colin says.