Texas Agriculture November 18, 2016 : Page 14

Cotton harvest progresses across Texas By Jessica Domel News Editor While timely rainfall benefited cotton farmers across Texas this year, some were left with the more unfortunate side effects of too much rain, hail and dam-aging winds. In early November, just as cotton harvest was get-ting started, farmers in Lynn County were hit with be-tween two and three-and-a-half inches of rain in 30 min-utes. “One farm is a complete loss, and then I’ve had dam-age that was 30-40 percent on some,” Bruce Vaughn, Lynn County cotton farmer, said in an interview with the Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Radio Network. While evaluating his crop near O’Donnell, Vaughn col-Hail and heavy rains damaged cotton lected nine hailstones from the storm and lined them up. near O’Donnell in Lynn County. Photo courtesy of Bruce Vaughn They ended up being longer than size 11 boots. At the time the rain hit, only but was open to rain may show de-about 20 percent of Vaughn’s cotton creases in lint quality as a result of the wet weather. had been harvested. There was some disease pres-“You take it in stride,” Vaughn sure in the area this year, accord-said. “We’ve had weather events before that have kept us out of the ing to Byrd. Mid-season, there were field for periods of time. We know some instances of bacterial blight that these things happen. We don’t and cotton thrips. Toward the end of like them. You can’t plan for them. the season, wilt was wound in some fields. The cotton, however, had al-All you can do is take it in stride.” The cotton on the High Plains ready been defoliated. “It could have been much worse and Panhandle was looking good had it happened earlier in the sea-before rains rolled into the area in son,” Byrd said. early November. Further south in the Rolling Dr. Seth Byrd, assistant profes-Plains, cotton farmers there also ex-sor and Texas A&M AgriLife Exten-perienced some loss this season due sion cotton specialist, said condi-tions were perfect over the last two to hail. Some 10,000 acres were dam-months for finishing out the cotton aged, according to early estimates. In the non-damaged areas, dry-crop. land and irrigated cotton looked “Here, we had a very hot and dry July,” Byrd said. “We had really good good. “They started the season good,” rains and moisture and had a really Dr. Gaylon Morgan, professor and hot and dry middle of the season. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension cot-Then we got rain in August and Sep-ton specialist, said. “By the end of tember.” Dryland farmers in the High Plains were able to start harvest early and were reporting both good yields and quality. Cotton that escaped hail damage tonseed for ginning costs.” Those on the Upper Gulf Coast near Wharton experienced similar issues. Further south, Morgan reports a good cotton season for farmers along the Gulf Coast and in the Rio Grande Valley. Overall, cotton acreage in the state is expected to be up this year. “Acreage is up in all regions except the southeast, which has a slight decline,” Dr. Jody Cam-piche, vice president of Econom-ics and Policy Analysis for the National Cotton Council, said in an interview with the TFB Ra-dio Network. “We’re progressing on harvest, and we’re at about 30 percent harvested acreage for the whole United States.” Hurricane Matthew did affect cotton on the East Coast. The sale of Chinese cotton reserves In other parts of the state, cotton looked also weigh on American cotton good, and cotton acreage in Texas is farmers. The auctions started expected to be up this year. in May and ran through the end of September. Nearly 12 million bales of cotton from the reserves ton to progress. Cotton is also looking good in West have been sold to date. “They still have about 50 million Texas, although farmers in some ar-bales left in their reserves, but going eas are reporting rabbit damage. Yields are expected to be above-forward, they’re planning to contin-ue to have those auctions each year average for the region. Cotton harvest in the Central until the reserves reach what they Texas Blacklands is pretty much consider to be a reasonable level,” wrapped up. The season wasn’t Campiche said. There will likely be several more great for many farmers in the re-seasons of Chinese cotton auctions gion. “It was wet really early and then to reduce the Chinese reserves, but turned extremely dry,” Morgan said. that could eventually be good news “Then in August, we got seven to for cotton farmers. “China used to be the largest pro-nine days of pretty consistent rain.” The rain caused cottonseed to ducer, and now they’re second be-sprout in the boll. It also decreased hind India,” Campiche said. “They the quality of the cotton lint and de-are the largest textile manufacturer in the world. They’re planning to layed harvest for many. “I know it decreased the gin ef-expand their textile industry, which ficiency, and it took longer to gin means in the next few years, they’re it. Their fiber quality grades were going to need more cotton, and off,” Morgan said. “Many of them they’re not producing as much. We were having to pay ginning costs, see some great opportunity in the too. Typically, when the cottonseed next few years for China to become value is good, they kind of swap cot-a large cotton importer again.” July, they really needed rain, and they didn’t get it until mid-August.” The warmer-than-normal fall and late rains ended up helping many cotton farmers by enabling the cot-14 N OVEMBER 18 , 2016

Cotton Harvest Progresses Across Texas

Jessica Domel

While timely rainfall benefited cotton farmers across Texas this year, some were left with the more unfortunate side effects of too much rain, hail and damaging winds.

In early November, just as cotton harvest was getting started, farmers in Lynn County were hit with between two and three-and-a-half inches of rain in 30 minutes.

“One farm is a complete loss, and then I’ve had damage that was 30-40 percent on some,” Bruce Vaughn, Lynn County cotton farmer, said in an interview with the Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Radio Network.

While evaluating his crop near O’Donnell, Vaughn collected nine hailstones from the storm and lined them up. They ended up being longer than size 11 boots.

At the time the rain hit, only about 20 percent of Vaughn’s cotton had been harvested.

“You take it in stride,” Vaughn said. “We’ve had weather events before that have kept us out of the field for periods of time. We know that these things happen. We don’t like them. You can’t plan for them. All you can do is take it in stride.”

The cotton on the High Plains and Panhandle was looking good before rains rolled into the area in early November.

Dr. Seth Byrd, assistant professor and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension cotton specialist, said conditions were perfect over the last two months for finishing out the cotton crop.

“Here, we had a very hot and dry July,” Byrd said. “We had really good rains and moisture and had a really hot and dry middle of the season. Then we got rain in August and September.”

Dryland farmers in the High Plains were able to start harvest early and were reporting both good yields and quality.

Cotton that escaped hail damage but was open to rain may show decreases in lint quality as a result of the wet weather.

There was some disease pressure in the area this year, according to Byrd. Mid-season, there were some instances of bacterial blight and cotton thrips. Toward the end of the season, wilt was wound in some fields. The cotton, however, had already been defoliated.

“It could have been much worse had it happened earlier in the season,” Byrd said.

Further south in the Rolling Plains, cotton farmers there also experienced some loss this season due to hail. Some 10,000 acres were damaged, according to early estimates.

In the non-damaged areas, dryland and irrigated cotton looked good.

“They started the season good,” Dr. Gaylon Morgan, professor and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension cotton specialist, said. “By the end of July, they really needed rain, and they didn’t get it until mid-August.”

The warmer-than-normal fall and late rains ended up helping many cotton farmers by enabling the cotton to progress.

Cotton is also looking good in West Texas, although farmers in some areas are reporting rabbit damage.

Yields are expected to be above-average for the region.

Cotton harvest in the Central Texas Blacklands is pretty much wrapped up. The season wasn’t great for many farmers in the region.

“It was wet really early and then turned extremely dry,” Morgan said. “Then in August, we got seven to nine days of pretty consistent rain.”

The rain caused cottonseed to sprout in the boll. It also decreased the quality of the cotton lint and delayed harvest for many.

“I know it decreased the gin efficiency, and it took longer to gin it. Their fiber quality grades were off,” Morgan said. “Many of them were having to pay ginning costs, too. Typically, when the cottonseed value is good, they kind of swap cottonseed for ginning costs.”

Those on the Upper Gulf Coast near Wharton experienced similar issues.

Further south, Morgan reports a good cotton season for farmers along the Gulf Coast and in the Rio Grande Valley.

Overall, cotton acreage in the state is expected to be up this year.

“Acreage is up in all regions except the southeast, which has a slight decline,” Dr. Jody Campiche, vice president of Economics and Policy Analysis for the National Cotton Council, said in an interview with the TFB Radio Network. “We’re progressing on harvest, and we’re at about 30 percent harvested acreage for the whole United States.”

Hurricane Matthew did affect cotton on the East Coast. The sale of Chinese cotton reserves also weigh on American cotton farmers. The auctions started in May and ran through the end of September. Nearly 12 million bales of cotton from the reserves have been sold to date.

“They still have about 50 million bales left in their reserves, but going forward, they’re planning to continue to have those auctions each year until the reserves reach what they consider to be a reasonable level,” Campiche said.

There will likely be several more seasons of Chinese cotton auctions to reduce the Chinese reserves, but that could eventually be good news for cotton farmers.

“China used to be the largest producer, and now they’re second behind India,” Campiche said. “They are the largest textile manufacturer in the world. They’re planning to expand their textile industry, which means in the next few years, they’re going to need more cotton, and they’re not producing as much. We see some great opportunity in the next few years for China to become a large cotton importer again.”

Read the full article at http://texasagriculture.texasfarmbureau.org/article/Cotton+Harvest+Progresses+Across+Texas/2641482/358629/article.html.

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