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• This devotion to the farm and to practices that make the land better and more productive earned him the Farm Press/Cotton Foundations 2013 High Cotton Award for the Southwest region.
JOHN WILDE, San Angelo, Texas, is the 2012 High Cotton Award winner for the Southwest region.
No resistant weeds yet
He plants mostly FiberMax and some Deltapine, all transgenic — Roundup Ready and Bt. “We have had no issues with resistant weeds,” he says, “but I understand the need for residual herbicides, especially in fields where manure has been applied.”
Conditions in the San Angelo area are usually too dry for LibertyLink varieties, he says, “But I’ve tried some.” He also has trials for a Bt over-spray test, a Pima economics evaluation, a TwinLink plot, an agronomic test, a double-row cotton trial and a root rot trial evaluating two application methods. “We also have a breeding trial with FiberMax.”
Other problems pop up, he says. “With the loss of Temik, we’re more concerned with reniform nematodes — they’re becoming a bigger issue. Cotton monoculture is a factor, and we want to rotate more. Good grain prices will help. But for rotation, the economics have to be right.”
Wilde says conditions in 2012 were slightly better than in 2011. Doug says the farm had from 4 inches to 5 inches of rain in early May and from 6 inches to 10 inches the first of September.
“Other than that, we had very little rain this year. The heat was not as bad. Conditions were a little better, but not as good as we want them.”
He gives Betty Jo credit for keeping him grounded. “I believe in honesty and fairness,” he said. “Betty Jo continues to instill those in me and we try to instill them in our children. I had a wonderful mother and father, who tried to do the same; they taught me a work ethic. My dad always encouraged and backed me — you can’t put a value on that. I value family.”
Doug and Matt work with him as partners on the farm. “It’s what they want to do,” he says. “And where else but a farm can you have the opportunity for parents to work so closely with their children?”
He’s proud of the whole family. Betty Jo teaches high school girls to become medical assistants. “She gives them opportunities,” Wilde says.
Doug and Matt plan on farming as a career. Both have degrees, Doug a masters in agriculture from Texas A&M, and Matt a bachelor’s in computer science from Angelo State University. Julie is a physician’s assistant in Houston and Joanna graduated from Texas A&M last December with a degree in agricultural economics and plans for graduate school.
Wilde recalls that he had an opportunity to pursue an advanced degree at Purdue after he graduated from Texas A&M, but after his dad was injured in a car accident he went back to the farm to help out.
“I realized more school wasn’t what he wanted,” he says. “I knew where I needed to be.