- U.S. cotton crop, for the most part, suffers from too much rain in the East and too little in the West.
- In California, cotton growers apply the last water irrigation.
- In Arkansas, wet fields in the northeastern counties; some southeastern counties are dry.
State-by-state producer reports from across the U.S. Cotton Belt suggest a mixed bag of growing conditions, ranging from water-soaked fields to drought-starved plants.
“Time is our enemy. We don’t know if we’ll make a crop,” says cotton producer Walt Corcoran of Eufala, Ala.
Corcoran says nighttime temperatures are expected to fall into the upper 50’s.
Corcoran is among a dozen plus cotton producers who shared the status of their 2013 cotton crops or their state’s crop during the opening session of the American Cotton Producers (ACP) and Cotton Foundation joint meeting held Aug. 14 in Phoenix, Ariz.
The ACP is the producer arm of the National Cotton Council (NCC). The Cotton Foundation is the NCC’s agribusiness arm.
Among the Texas cotton producers who discussed crop status was Doyle Schniers of San Angelo.
“We are three, 2-inch rains away from a bumper crop,” joked producer Doyle Schniers of San Angelo, which was followed by crowd laughter. Actually, Schniers has a good looking cotton stand to make a crop.
Shawn Holladay of Lubbock said the northern High Plains faces about 50-percent crop abandonment due to drought.
Arizona cotton grower Paul Ollerton of Casa Grande expects an early harvest. Pest pressures have included lygus and stink bug. The cotton harvest recently started in the Yuma area to make way for winter vegetable production.
In Arkansas, a mixed bag includes wet fields in the northeastern portion of the state while some southeastern counties are dry, says Herrick Norcross of Tyronza in Poinsett County. Nighttime temperatures were expected to fall below 60 degrees.
In water-deficit California, Mark McKean of Riverdale (Fresno County) said the final crop irrigation is underway.
“The focus is on the finish,” McKean told the cotton crowd.
He expressed concern over ever tightening water supplies for California agriculture. Hints of a zero percent surface water allocation for crop irrigation next year could significantly reduce California cotton plantings.
In Georgia, Tim Crosby of Pavo said his early-planted cotton looks good but it is late. Statewide yields could reach the 940-pound per acre mark.
The Kansas cotton crop is 2-3 weeks behind schedule. Acreage is down about 40-percent compared to last year. The 2013 acreage is about 40,000.
A Louisiana producer explained, “Cotton has fallen on hard times.” Statewide cotton acreage several years ago in the 600,000 acre range has fallen to about 125,000 acres this year.
Lyon, Miss. producer Cliff Heaton says the cotton crop is especially late in the north Delta. Heaton hopes for a yield in the 1,300-1,400-pounds-per-acre range. The statewide yield could total about 1,000-pounds per acre.
“The cotton crop looks good,” said Nathan Jurva of Carlsbad, N.M. Cotton is grown on about 30,000 acres in the state.
A North Carolina producer shared mixed growing conditions with average quality cotton. North Carolina has about 425,000 acres of cotton.
In Oklahoma, the state’s estimated 150,000 harvestable acres has poor quality cotton overall, according to Daniel Davis of Elk City. Some of the best cotton-growing areas have the poorest crop.
Jimmy Moody of Dyersburg, Tenn. says the crop will depend heavily on September weather. Too many cloudy days and rainfall has hindered the crop so far, plus the absence of 90-degree temperature days.
More great Western Farm Press reads: