As Cotton Prices Wane, Growers Turn To Precision Ag

As Cotton Prices Wane, Growers Turn To Precision Ag

There’s no denying it. When it comes to trending topics in cotton production, precision agriculture is at the top of the list, reports Beck Barnes on


Cotton Incorporated recently conducted a comprehensive nationwide study to back up that claim, and the results were predictable as they were remarkable. Of the nearly 1,000 American cotton producers who were polled, 84% utilized at least one precision product or practice on the farm in 2015. That number has increased rapidly in recent years. But the Cotton Incorporated study also showed how beneficial precision management can be in terms of yield and overall profit.

“For example, we’ve found that people who are using soil sensors are getting more cotton per inch of water applied,” says Dr. Ed Barnes, Senior Director, Agricultural and Environmental Research Division at Cotton Incorporated. “And on top of that, their overall yields also appear to be higher than their neighbors who aren’t using this technology. We’ve seen that across a couple different technologies.”

One such technology or practice that has demonstrated a strong likelihood to increased yields has been grid-soil sampling. Consequently, Barnes points to it as the precision practice that has become most popular recently among American cotton producers.

“I think we’re over 46% adoption rate among those farmers who participated in our survey, who said they’re using that one practice,” Barnes says. “So that’s showing that that’s taking off, and it makes sense because people are finding that when you can fine tune the fertility in your field, it’s going to pay off. You’re either going to save fertilizer by not applying where you have low-yield potential, or, in those areas that are better producing, people are finding those areas are under-fertilized.”

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