“From the standpoint of how that affects the cotton crop, cotton generally likes warm conditions. We certainly need moisture for that crop, but too much rainfall is a detriment to cotton.”
Dr. Robert Lemon is a cotton specialist with Texas AgriLife Extension.
“Last year we had so much rainfall that it promoted a very late crop and reduced yields in many parts of the state including the Brazos Valley.”
This year the weather is quite a different story.
“This year, even though we haven’t had any rain, of course, the Brazos Valley crop is primarily an irrigated crop, the acreage is irrigated here. The absence of rainfall, if you’ve got enough moisture, if you’ve got enough irrigation capacity, you can manage the crop fairly well.”
Many farmers didn’t irrigate any last year.
“Last year the sun seemed to never shine. If you wanted to get a suntan, you had a hard time doing it. This year the sun’s shining every day. That’s critical to cotton, critical to cotton. It loves full soon.”
And Dr. Lemon says at this point in the growing season the sun has done its job.
“Even though it hasn’t rained, and certainly we’d like to have a rain to turn off the center pivots, or the irrigation that we’re using from a furrow standpoint, the full sun has really set up a beautiful crop in the Brazos Valley. Some fields obviously aren’t going to be as good as others, but I’ve walked in a lot of fields that may have some of the best yield potential for quite some time.”
But farmers don’t count their chickens before they’re hatched.
“It’d be nice to get some rainfall to nurse this crop out, but we do have a pretty decent crop in the field right now, but it remains to be seen what can happen. It’s never done ‘til the cotton’s in the module, as we say.”
I’m Joe Brown, taking a look at the journey our food and fiber makes from the farm to our homes, from the ground up.