Cotton acres have exploded in Kansas over the past five years and more growth is expected, even if the long, wet spring prevented some folks from planting what they’d like to plant.
Plains Cotton Cooperative Association, which markets much of the cotton grown in Kansas, is planning for that expected growth. PCCA is in active negotiations for a site to build a new 400,000-square-foot warehouse in the Wichita area.
That’s enough warehouse to store about 150,000 bales of cotton with plenty of room to stage trucks to move it from the warehouse to shipping points according to Jay Cowart, vice president of the Warehouse Division of PCCA.
“We are still in the process of procuring a site; we’re close but not there yet,” he says. “But we intend to add a warehouse and hopefully, it will be ready to start accepting bales by the end of ginning of the 2019 crop.”
Cowart says construction of a cotton warehouse is pretty straight forward. If the weather cooperates and there are no delays, the project could be completed in six to eight months.
PCCA already has one Kansas warehouse location in Liberal with two buildings, each totaling about 330,000 square feet of space. The cooperative also has warehouses in Altus, Okla., and Sweetwater, Rule and Big Spring, Texas. The total capacity is about 1.2 million bales.
Cowart says PCCA was anticipating about a 30% increase in cotton acres in 2019 over last year, but that some of those acres may not get planted because of wet weather lasting so long into planting season.
“It’s mindboggling to me how much they can plant in a short period when they get a window to plant,” he says. “There’s some big equipment out there and these guys are really serious about getting into the field the minute they can.”
The new warehouse in the Wichita area will be a welcome development for the Southern Kansas Cotton Growers gins at Winfield and Anthony, who now transport bales as far away as Sweetwater, Texas.
“It’s really going to help us to be able to go into the Wichita area, which is only an hour or two away rather than a truck having to make an overnight trip for every load,” according to Rex Friesen, SPCG agronomist and public relations director.