The 2018 Farm Press/Cotton Foundation High Cotton winners have a lot of similarities — water conservation, rotation, cover crops, on-farm trials, and taking advantage of technology to improve efficiency and collect data to use in management decisions. These factors were important criteria in all four High Cotton Award winners, honored recently during the Mid-South Farm and Gin Sow in Memphis, Tenn.
The four farm operations display a strong commitment to soil and water stewardship.
Ron Rayner, Goodyear, Arizona, is the 2018 winner for the Western Region. He and his family work a multi-year, minimum tillage crop rotation system that reduces water use and soil erosion, and saves on equipment, labor, and input costs.
Since 1996, this system has incorporated practices such as no-till planting after wheat harvest, crop rotation, border flood irrigation, and a conservation tillage system.
“It’s basically a conservation agricultural system. It’s the only way we can farm with a true no-till system,” Rayner says, noting that plowing is needed only when newly acquired fields are readied for planting.
Here are a few photos of the Rayner operation and of the awards ceremony.