Calan Harper is the kind of cotton grower who knows his crops inside and out … or more appropriately in his case, above and below. That’s because he’s a licensed pilot who’s looked at his farm from thousands of feet in the air, and he’s also an expert on the ground at managing the wide variety of soil types he has to deal with.
Calan is a third-generation grower farming about 800 acres of cotton near the town of Wray, Georgia, along with 700 acres of peanuts and corn. Calan has become a big fan of NexGen® varieties, partly because of how well they perform on his particular land.
“We have some soils that are sandy or rocky or have a lot of clay,” he explained. “In certain places, we can have 100 acres with five different soil types.”
Calan was introduced to NexGen varieties in 2015 on the recommendation of his seed dealer. He first planted NG 5007 B2XF, and it worked well. He stayed with NexGen, and a couple of years later, he also planted NG 5711 B3XF and was extremely pleased with the results.
“The 5711 was the most consistent variety we’d ever seen,” he said. “It made good yields on all its acres across all soil types.” Since then, Calan has eventually gone to planting 100% NexGen. Among other varieties, he’s also had success with NG 4190 B3XF and NG 3299 B3XF. His cotton acres are roughly split 50/50 between dryland and irrigated.
“I’ve known Calan a long time, and we have a great relationship,” said agronomist Brandon Phillips, his Americot representative. “He likes to experiment, and he does a really good job finding ways to make the best yields possible.”
“I knew Brandon when he was working as a crop consultant,” Calan noted. “We rely on him to point us in the right directions.”
Calan and his wife Kristin have twin six-year-old girls and a four-month-old son, so they naturally have their hands full of responsibilities beyond farming. But nevertheless, Calan still manages to find time for his other love, flying.
“My father was a crop duster,” he said, “so I grew up around planes and liked to fly. I got my pilot’s license while I was in college in 2007. My first plane was a Piper Cherokee and I have a Piper Pacer now.”
“Calan is very intelligent,” Brandon added, “and that shows in his success. I saw him get four bales out of one field of NexGen 5711, and he even gets 1300 – 1400 pounds on some of his dryland acres.”
“NexGen gives us good yields, whether on dry or irrigated land,” said Calan in conclusion. “But my favorite is still 5711 because it’s so consistent. It really puts the bales in the field.”