Cotton is not as tall as it once was in Oklahoma. But it still yields excellent agronomic benefits to wheat and corn rotations by helping hold down weeds, disease and insects. And although cotton prices lag behind grains, there’s still profit in those bolls for Monty Kahle.

“All crops do better when you rotate,” says Kahle, whose northern Oklahoma farm includes a cotton, corn, wheat then back to cotton again rotation. “We’re able to break up disease situations and some insect problems.”

“And as long as we can make money off cotton, even when corn prices are higher, we want to keep it in our rotation,” adds his son, Eric, who joined him on the farm two years ago.

Kahle has been a crusader for cotton in his Newkirk, Okla., region since the early 1990s. That’s when a new gin was built at nearby Blackwell. Unfortunately, increased corn, soybean and wheat prices took too many regional acres out of cotton to sustain the gin.

He now gets his cotton baled in Minco, Okla., just west of Oklahoma City. Kahle also has an interest in Great Plains Cotton Gin, LLC, which owns the Minco gin, as well as a gin near Pratt, Kan.

Equipment upgrades have improved efficiency.

“Since we (started using) a John Deere round bale module building system, transporting the cotton for processing is much easier,” Kahle says.