Planning for next year

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What a difference a year makes. This time last year farmers still had cotton in the field, and it was so wet that harvesting wasn’t possible let alone getting fields ready for the upcoming year. Now most harvesting is over and farmers have begun making plans for 2020. Michael Kurtz farms and ranches with his father and son in Bell County.

“We generally stay with a pretty consistent plan as far as the crops we plant. We don’t usually chase markets as far as a particular crop. We try to diversify and stay as stable as we can in that regard. From year to year it begins at harvest the summer before. We look at what we planted and how well it did under those conditions and draw from year to year the products that work well for us.”

Kurtz says that consistency is of the upmost importance.

“We want products that are yielding at the top but also we want to see that they’re going to be consistent over five years. Looking back no matter what crop we’re looking at I want the one that’s yielded the most over the last three to five years, not the one that just did the best in any given year. So we take our own data as well as industry data and all these plots’ information and we sit down and by this time of the year we’ve pretty much decided our focus for the coming crop year.”

While many farmers in our area like to rotate cotton with grain crops, that’s not an alternative for everyone.

“A lot of producers in our area seeing a lot of corn on corn acres. Finding the best fit with these traits and seed treatments and the technologies to make sure when we go corn on corn year after year that we’re not exposing ourselves to any risk there from pests and disease packages are really important in these products.”

And adding a dose of optimism to next year’s plans is a must.
“I think a farmer and rancher is always looking for a silver lining, otherwise I don’t know why you would want to continue on this path. I think we all laugh and talk about it’s gonna be better next year and hopefully that’s the case for everyone.”