We have numbers to justify everything we invest in a crop and we recommend that farmers hire professional scouts unless they are very good at scouting for insects.”

“We're too busy farming to check fields as often as we need to,” Terry says. “And we have to know where the thresholds are.”

Jackie says they try to do everything in cotton on a timely basis. Harvest pushes them.

“We have to keep things going,” Terry says. “All our landlords want their acreage harvested first and we try to get it out as soon as it's ready. We can make money by using harvest aids and stripping early.”

They use Prep, Def, Cyclone, Accelerate (as a carrier), Finish, and Gin Star. “It just depends on the season,' Jackie says. “Every field and every year will be different. We get our ag pilot to run tests on what works best, using his experience as a guide. That helps a lot.”

The 2001 crop proved a mixed bag for the Burris brothers. Irrigated acreage produced well. “We made some that went more than two bales,” Terry says. “Some made just a bale, but we had very little rain from the first of May until late September.”

Most of their dryland cotton never made a stand until the September rains gave the seed enough moisture to germinate.

“This was the driest summer in years, but we've been in a drought cycle for ten years,” Terry says.

Cotton, the Burris brothers contend, has been a good crop. ‘It rewards you,” Jackie says. “The more you pout into it the more you get out. That may be even more important in a bad year. If we miss our first irrigation or miss one worm spray, we know it the rest of the year.”

“If we miss sand fighting when we really need it, cotton get sand burn and never completely comes out of it,” Terry says.

The brothers work as a team with fairly defined roles. Jackie tends to the business chores. Rickie takes care of the mechanic work and Terry keeps the tractors going and works with irrigation systems.

“We're all hands-on managers,” Jackie says. “We run the strippers and do the planting. When the work needs to be done, we're all out here together.”

rsmith@primediabusiness.com