By Seshadri Ramkumar, Professor, Texas Tech University, USA
Yields in the High Plains of Texas are expected to be below what was expected.
“Yields are 25-30% off the normal,” stated Mark Brown, director of field services for Lubbock-based Plains Cotton Growers (PCG), Inc. In today’s early morning meeting of all the stakeholders from the cotton sector, discussion centered on this year’s cotton harvest in High Plains, the largest cotton growing region in the United States of America. The meeting also had an international visitor from the prestigious CSIRO research agency, Australia.
Harvest is estimated about 50-60% complete in High Plains and is resuming after rains last week in some areas of High Plains such as Gaines County. “Harvest is picking-up,” stated Steve Verett, chief executive officer of PCG. The hot summer has seriously affected this year’s crop.
Rain in August is crucial for the yield and quality of cotton. “Each additional inch of rain in August may help with as much as an additional 100 lbs. of cotton,” stated Glen Ritchie, chair of Plant and Soil Science department at Texas Tech University. The problem has been hot temperature and no rain in late summer, added Ritchie. Recently, the dramatic adjustment of yield by the United States’ Agriculture Department from its earlier estimates clearly attest to the expected lower yield. Hot weather will also affect the irrigated cotton, which will result in their yields off from the normal level.
With regard to plastic contamination, crop classed in the Lubbock classic office show that the industry has really handled the issue well, which is a positive aspect for the importing countries.
The latest estimate is that the High Plains of Texas is expected to produce 3.78 million bales (480 lbs. each).