From the Lower Rio Grande Valley to as far up the coast to Victoria, cotton harvest has been in full swing in recent days.
In Mission, near the Texas-Mexican border, the first bale of 2018 was harvested in mid-July, giving the "first bale" title to South Texas for as many times as anyone can remember.
Farmers had to deal with an excessively hot and dry late spring and summer growing season to bring in this year's crop. Irrigated acres in South Texas did well as expected, but a large percentage of dryland acres in the Valley and the Coastal Bend were lost or development was stunted, costing farmers both quality and yield.
When the rains finally came in mid-July, it was too late for many. But farmers who replanted after early planted cotton failed because of a late winter conditions, the rains boosted late-season production to help them bring in a variable crop. Many reported total crop failure while many others report a mediocre dryland harvest.
Others were able to produce a good crop thanks to either location or as a result of drought-tolerant varieties that managed to produce well under the less-than-perfect growing conditions. Some late planted fields will keep harvesters running at least for the next 2-3 weeks in the Texas Coastal Bend, and even longer in the Upper Coastal Bend area north of Refugio.