A warm, dry December has been a concern for wheat farmers who have seen crop conditions slip, but overall good for cotton farmers who have been able to continue harvest at a steady pace.
About the only weather challenge has been high humidity in some regions, according to Rex Friesen, Southern Kansas Cotton Growers crop consultant. Friesen continues to urge growers to be very sure that cotton is dry before stripping. As of Christmas Eve, the Southern Kansas gins at Winfield and Anthony had ginned more than 53,500 bales. Grades are very good overall, and prices are rising.
Meanwhile cotton economists are cheering progress on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which they say will increase potential cotton sales to Mexico. Analysts also say, however, that the numbers are not yet in for the 2019 harvest, so it is difficult to determine what the carry-in will be. They are optimistic however, that even with steady export levels, the likelihood is good for a reduction in supply that will support somewhat stronger prices.
Friesen says that the Plains Cotton Cooperative Association pool is adding another 2 cents to the payout for KCGA producers, bring the pool payout to 7 cents over the loan price.
It is also good news for Kansas growers that new cotton genetics to help control thrips and tarnished plant bugs are on the horizon. At the Deltapine New Product Evaluation Summit in December, Bayer announced ThryvOn Technology, the first trait in the industry to provide plants with a trait to protect against the pests while reducing the need for some insecticide applications.
ThryvOn Technology still has a way to go for regulatory approvals, but it is expected to be available to growers early in the 2020s, Bayer said. It will be stacked with Bollgard 3 XtendFlex Techhology to provide both insect pest and weed control.
“I would think there is probably a good chance that this technology will also help with fleahoppers, too,” Friesen said.
He added that he is seeing strong interest in cotton among southern Kansas producers and, weather permitting, the state should see growth in cotton acres for 2020. Cold, wet weather in the spring of 2019 prevented many Kansas growers from planting the cotton they intended. In spite of that, planted acres in 2019 were a record 185,000 acres, up about 12% over 2018, according to statistics from the National Agricultural Statistics Service.