Conserving water and soil and conscientious herbicide use help Rodgers Farms protect the land and ensure a healthy crop on the fourth-generation operation.

“Our farm consists of 3,400 row crop acres located in Humphreys and Leflore counties in Mississippi,” said Billy Rodgers, of the family partnership consisting of Billy and his wife Brittany as well as Billy’s brother, Erick Rodgers and his wife Trish.

“About 85% of our farm is irrigated by surface and pivot irrigation systems,” Rodgers said. “Soil and water conservation practices are also vital to us, especially considering the number of acres we irrigate. We use around 20 cellular soil moisture meters to allow for timely irrigations.

“Also, 10 cellular irrigation controls on our electric wells allow us to set timers and remotely cut wells on and off to prevent overwatering and overusing electricity. On some wells, where applicable, we use surge valves to reduce surface water runoff and soil erosion while providing better soil saturation.”

Over the past few years, the Rodgerses have installed over 25 water control structures, such as flashboard culverts, to eliminate as much topsoil and pad runoff as possible.

“One of our plans for this summer and fall is to implement more water control structures into our operation,” Rodgers said. “Conservation is important to us because farming has been in our family for decades, and we hope to pass down this way of life to our children and grandchildren someday.

The Rodgerses advocate the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), which assists in funding conservation projects to help farmers make improvements to their farmland.

Weed control is an essential part of any farming operation. The Rodgerses are committed to an efficient weed control program. They normally do a spring burndown, followed by an application behind the planter if the weather allows.

“We try to get by with one application for a layby before the crop canopies, but given the field, environment, and targeted species, it sometimes takes two,” Rodgers said.

“Using dicamba is critical and it is a very useful tool to help control the resistant weeds we deal with today. It is a risky herbicide if not used correctly, but we do all we can to stay within the label and use it the way it was designed to be used.”

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