Higher productivity and sustainability for cotton farmers in the Panhandle

Video - Higher productivity and sustainability for cotton farmers in the Panhandle - KFDA

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Today cotton farmers learned how to farm more efficiently at the Cotton U conference.

“Their young knowledge and multi-generational cotton views are fascinating for me to hear as an older producer and as a beginning cotton farmer, because of being so far north and at the higher elevations,” said Wesley Spurlock Panhandle cotton producer.

Cotton U is a pilot program initiated by the national cotton council. Its goal is to reduce farmers' environmental footprint by collecting data to see where farmers are and how they can improve in the future.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to come and talk about things that are important for the industry, our production practices are being talked about, and I’ll talk about some sustainability initiatives that we are working on,” said Craig Brown, V.P. producer affairs National Cotton Council.

Cotton U is working to include a 13-percent increase in productivity or land used per pound of fiber. An 18-percent rise in irrigation efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These ideas might help farmers when we have a severe weather year like we did this year.

“We got it all planted, it was looking great, and then in early May, it rained, and it rained, and the temperatures dropped into the 20′s. Before it was over, we went from six thousand acres of cotton to 500 acres of cotton,” said Spurlock.

Other companies at the farm and ranch show debuted new technology that will help reduce labor costs as well as the amount of fuel for transportation by bailing cotton in squares instead of rounds.

“The major benefit we are looking for here is to reduce the labor and reduce cost in the harvest. Transportation costs are lowered, and storage costs will be lower,” said Larry Matlack, owner of Stinger Inc.

About 150 farmers were in attendance during the conference, and others are encouraged to visit Cottonu.net or call 620-(227)-1834 for more information on how you can be a part of this pilot program.

Participation will help area farmers see results of data through the industry, so they can have better practices in the years to come.

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