For Abbott Myers and his son, Ransom, efficiency and long-term planning are guiding principles for their 6,700-acre grains farming operation at Dundee, Miss.

Whether it’s land forming and straight levees to increase efficiency of water handling, reduce pumping costs, and conserve water, or buying seed, fertilizer, and fuel in bulk to reduce handling and save money, or utilizing smart phones and laptops in the fields to save time and travel, “We’re constantly looking for ways to do things better, with an eye to the bottom line,” says Abbott.

“Everything we can do ourselves, we do. We hire no consultants, we do most of our mechanical work ourselves unless it’s something major, and we replace equipment only when we feel it’s a sound business decision  — we’ve got some power units with over 30,000 hours on them and no major problems, and we’ve got a 20-year-old planter we’re still using.

“Ransom and I have worked out plans for where we want to be in five years, and 10 years, and we have schedules in place for ongoing land forming and other improvements.”

He laughs and admits to one bit of self-indulgence. “Last year, I bought my own combine. We had two, but I love to combine our crops, so Ransom agreed that I could buy one of my own, and it has certainly increased our harvesting efficiency.”

The Myers farm, located in south Tunica County, is spread out over several miles, and soils are heavy buckshot clay.

“We’re fortunate,” says Abbott, “that all of our acreage is pretty much large, contiguous fields, so we don’t have to do a lot of moving equipment from one place to another. In one area, we have 1,000 acres of contiguous rice, which facilitates efficiency in planting, spraying, and harvesting.”

Their crop mix this year, Ransom says, consists of 2,000 acres of rice, 4,000-plus of soybeans, and the balance in corn.

“Our rice is all RiceTec hybrid varieties. Their Clearfield varieties, CLXL745 and CLXL729, have done well for us — the hybrid yields have been better than conventional varieties, though there have been some milling differences. Our non-Clearfield varieties are RiceTec XL723 and XP753.”

They plant as many as 20 different early Group IV and Group V soybean varieties, mostly Pioneer, Ransom says.

“These have worked well for us in recent years. We base our selections on our own production experience and on Mississippi State University yield data. We missed our prime planting time this year because of weather, and got planted a bit late.”

During all the spring flooding, they had some backup water from the Coldwater River and had to replant about 500 acres.