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Weather keeps West Texas cotton producers guessing…but hopeful

Free Texas Alliance for Water Conservation's Water College set for Jan. 24
“There’s certainly some optimism about crop prospects now that we’re getting a pretty decent October,” says Texas AgriLife Extension Cotton Specialist Seth Byrd at Lubbock. “So, whether it’s maturing bolls or taking advantage of the weather to apply harvest aids, that’s the kind of opportunity that presents itself with good weather.”

Cool, cloudy and wet weather combined to delay cotton maturity for the Texas Plains cotton crop.

“The big question is, what has this done to the ultimate maturity in the quality of the crop, especially in our northern territories,” says Steve Verett, Plains Cotton Growers executive vice president. “Especially, what’s going to be the effect on micronaire?” Micronaire is a vital measurement in determining how easily cotton fiber can be processed, and a primary factor in determining potential quality.

Another risk to quality this year, says Seth Byrd, is hardlock bolls. “We’ve seen this in years past, but certainly much more this year.” The reasons for the increase in hardlock bolls is twofold, he says: disease pressure that has been greatly increased this year by the wet, cloudy conditions, and weather in general — high humidity, rain, and cloudiness.

Recent forecasts call for warmer temperatures and more open conditions. Producers are preparing to apply or initiating  harvest aid applications and getting ready to move harvesters in the field. That's when they will know how much, if any, damage resulted from the cool, wet fall.

Here are a few photos showing how the crop is progressing.




TAGS: Harvest
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