“This summer we had, almost all days were sunshine, very few clouds, very few, well, there was no rain for a ten week period, and under that scenario that cotton making machine is just rolling on. It never has a delay, so the plant just matures out much sooner than if you have those delays, or if you have a lot of growthy conditions during the summer time.”
Brazos Bottom farmer Andy Scamardo says that makes for an early cotton crop, which is fine if your crop is irrigated, but trouble for dry land cotton.
“If cotton is done very, very early, it probably burned up, and the plant itself wants to survive and make seeds to keep itself going for years to come, so it will, at some point in time, it’ll just say you know what, I’m going to try and make all the seed I can. I’m going to quit trying to grow. I’m going to mature out and be done with it. That’s what happens when you put it under a lot of stress.”
The nine or ten day rain pattern that took place in August had cotton farmers worried.
“Now that the cotton’s starting to open and mature, the rain, it keeps the cotton from opening, it does what is called orange slicing. The bolls don’t open full enough to, for the harvest to be efficient.”
A combination of high wind and heavy rains from a hurricane would have been disastrous.
“It knocks a lot of lint on the ground which then can’t be harvested. It discolors the fiber, which then makes it worth less per pound. It deteriorates the seed quality, and just delays harvest in general.”
Local farmers dodged the bullet that Hurricane Gustav would have delivered to the cotton crop, and harvest is going on fast and furiously as we speak.