Chris Porter is the third generation to care for, grow and nurture his family’s farm in the Missouri Bootheel. His dad passed away in 2007, but his wisdom is engrained in his son. He keeps two pieces of advice his dad shared with him top of mind:
“I farm because my dad and my granddad farmed. I always wanted to be a farmer like my dad. That’s what I’ve always said growing up. It’s what I would always write on my school paper when the teacher asked what we wanted to be,” Porter says. “It’s what I know and is my way of life.”
Porter continues to build on his family’s legacy by looking at new technologies and farming practices. He has adopted minimum tillage to make as few passes as possible through his fields. He also is working to incorporate cover crops where it’s appropriate for his operation. When it comes to seed selection and weed control, Porter evaluates the options and is willing to try different or new products such as PhytoGen® cottonseed and the Enlist™ weed control system.
The great vigor of PhytoGen cottonseed enticed Porter to plant three varieties this year. He calls the yield potential amazing.
“I chose PhytoGen because of how well it performs. It’s almost like why wouldn’t you try this?” Porter says. “Enlist was a bonus that I knew I could use to help control the pigweed.”
Like many others in his area, pigweed is the biggest problem weed Porter battles each year. He also has seen a resurgence around the field edges of Johnsongrass, cocklebur and wild cotton.
“I was just in Texas on a farm tour and, although we’re 1,800 miles apart, we still see the same struggles with pigweed,” Porter says. “We are relying on preemergents more and more. We try to start as clean as possible with our burndown program. We want to plant into a field where nothing will inhibit the crop.”
Following the preemergence application this year, Porter tank-mixed Enlist One® herbicide with Warrant herbicide for additional broadleaf and grass control. Then, about 20 days after that application, Porter sprayed another residual followed by a second tank-mix application of Enlist One and glufosinate.
“Seeing Enlist One work really draws me to it more,” Porter says. “You have to be mindful of how big the weeds are, but it can control pigweed with timely applications.”
For Porter, keeping the weeds under control is as important as the yield. Clean fields give him a sense of pride.
“You can say ‘I beat the pigweed this year,’” he says. He knows the unwanted weed will challenge him again next season, but he takes it a year at a time. “We want to keep the fields clean because it can become a disaster really quick.”
He had used other herbicide-tolerant systems and knew the importance of following the label requirements and best management practices for an on-target application. He placed at least two Flag the Technology markers for Enlist in his fields of PhytoGen® cotton with the Enlist trait. That made the fields of Enlist cotton easier for his applicator to identify and avoid misapplications.
Porter also makes time to talk with his neighbors. He notifies them when he is spraying. That way, if they have questions, the neighbors know they can talk with him.
“Our spray rig operator is as careful as possible. He is a good steward. We will stop if the wind direction changes,” Porter says. “We will slow down to get good coverage. It goes back to Dad’s advice of doing the job right the first time.”
Porter will pass those wise words of advice to the fourth generation: his 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter. Both are eager to be with their dad on the farm.
“My son says the same thing I did growing up: ‘I want to be a farmer like my daddy,’” Porter says with a big smile.
Minimum tillage, irrigated