Mixing it up
By J.T. SMITH
When cotton hit a historic record this year of more than $2 per pound, the cotton craze continued to spread like a Texas wildfire.
Make no mistake about it, Winters, Texas, farmer and stockman Roger Kruse will continue to grow ample cotton, but as a third-generation family producer, he still believes in agricultural diversity in his rugged region. He is continuing the diversity just like his father, Delbert, and grandfather Dick Kruse did. They, too, knew crop rotation makes good sense.
• While his cotton is plentiful, Roger Kruse still rotates crops.
• Kruse makes cattle work with wheat, and wheat with cotton.
• He learned farming and ranching from generations before him.
Roger grows cotton, wheat, hay and sorghum, and has a cow-calf operation. Continued proliferation of wild hogs over much of Texas has made it extremely difficult to grow the sorghum, which he rotates with cotton.
Favors cotton and wheat
What he really likes in Runnels County is a cotton and wheat rotation.
“Honestly, this area is becoming cotton and wheat,” Roger reflects, as he rolls down a dusty dirt road with two faithful cow-dogs in the back of his truck.
The sprawling wheat fields seen in every direction — that he and others hope will make grain this spring — lend credence to his statement.
Many, like him, first run cattle on winter wheat pasture, and then remove them by late February or March to allow the wheat to make grain. Then, right after wheat harvest, they can come in with cotton planting on that ground.
After studying at Tarleton State University, Roger’s son, Steven, is home farming, representing the fourth generation.
“I guess I ruined him,” Roger quips. “He’s been driving a combine since he was an 11-year-old, and farming just got in his blood.”
“That’s what I always wanted to do,” Steven says, taking a break from top-dressing wheat with fertilizer and applying herbicide simultaneously.
Meanwhile, Roger’s wife, Rhonda, is a fourth-grade teacher at Winters, while daughters Michelle and Christy are Winters students, who just love Winters Blizzards basketball.
It’s a diverse bunch.
LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON: Winters, Texas, producer Roger Kruse jokes that he couldn’t talk son Steven out of farming. Steven says he always knew farming is what he wanted to do. He is now a fourth-generation farmer in the Kruse operation.
This article published in the April, 2011 edition of THE FARMER-STOCKMAN.
All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2011.