Hosted by the Ellis County AgriLife Extension Service, the 2013 Ellis County Crops Tour was held Tuesday, July 2 with a good turnout. The tour is a way for landowners to gain more insight as it relates to particular crops.

Wes Sullivan and his father manage more than 2,500 acres of land. He said being a landowner can be very difficult and scary at times, but with the knowledge each seed representative brings to the table, it allows them to make educated decisions to produce the best crop possible.

“This tour keeps us abreast to new techniques and seeds that are available each year,” Sullivan said. “Hearing about the different seed options, and knowing the production rate will give us a better understanding of which product is better for us.”

Sullivan said just because a particular brand yielded a great crop for a farmer down the road doesn't necessarily mean it will do the same for him.

“The same variety that grows on my land to yield corn, may not be the best for someone else,” he said. “Sometimes farming is about trial and error. These guys come out here and they tell us about their product and why it's the best. Then we take that information and test it out. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.”

For instance, Sullivan said for the past several years he chose to plant a Pioneer 84 G 62 bronze hybrid in his grain sorghum plot. He said after hearing about the production rate of the 84 P 80, he chose to plant that last year.

“I found the 84 P to be the best for us on our farm,” he said. “It was a high yield and had an improved head exertion rate. It is now my new favorite.”

He said there are many challenges to farming, and it helps to have experts come in and share their knowledge of the different products.

“To be quite honest, farming is a huge gamble,” Sullivan said. “We rely on purchasing the right seed, soil preparation and timing, but the most important factor is weather.”

Sullivan said relying on primarily water to ensure a healthy crop doesn't always go in the favor of the farmer.

“It's not just a matter of knowing how much, but it's also dependent upon when you get it,” he said.

While farming can be challenging and difficult at times, Sullivan said he wouldn't have it any other way.

“I'm a fifth generation farmer,” he said. “This is all I've ever known and have ever wanted to be. There has never been a time in my life that I had to think or wonder what I would be when I became older. Farming was it.”

Obtaining a degree in agronomy from Abilene Christian University, Sullivan said he wanted to take all of the knowledge he gained in college to help his father grow the family business.

Sullivan has continued to increase in his knowledge about farming over the years. He said that is largely due to the crops tour, which he attends every year.

The tour began at Johnston Farms in Avalon, where several seed representatives discussed the different varieties of corn seed. Dupont representative David Stickler revisited the pros of utilizing Prevathon on crops, specifically the sunflower plot on Beakley Farms. Weed and brush control was touched on by Brandt Medler and one of his associates at Hettinger Farms. They talked about how to deal with Mesquite and other bushes by using Chaparral and Sendero, which are specialty herbicides. Due to recent spraying on the Sullivan Farm grain sorghum plot, the group wasn't allowed to stop, but it was touched on during lunch at Waxahachie Creek Park.

Other guest speakers included Larry Eubanks, Bashir Dualle, Beau Brooks, Tom Clark, Johnny Aten, Dr. Ronnie Schnell and Mark Arnold of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

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