“About ten days prior to when the storm was predicted to hit or when they started talking about it has a possibility of hitting the Texas coast, that was about the time that we would have probably, would have started to prepare, giving this cotton its first defoliation shot. We usually put on this more rank irrigated cotton two separate defoliations, one to take the top out, the second to put a boll opener and get the under foliage of the crop.”
Lee Denena grows cotton in the Brazos Bottom.
“My thought was the worst thing I could do is get all of the leaves off of it, all of the foliage off of it, the cotton as open as possible, and have that be when the storm hit.”
Hurricane Ike took a toll from cotton waiting to be harvested.
“You’ve got cotton that was ready to be defoliated and actually the lower part of the plant, the bottom crop we call it, was ready to be harvested. Some of it opened probably as early as the 15th of August, and it’s in that burr real loose and when that wind came it was just so vulnerable to that wind and rain, that driving rain, it was blown out of the burr and knocked on the ground for the most part.”
The hope was for the top crop on the plant to survive and be allowed to mature.
“As you went further up the plant, the plants were, the bolls were less mature, some of them had just cracked, some of them were just opened, and they seemed to hold on a little better.”
Denena says he really won’t know how much damage was done until the cotton is harvested.
“That was our decision, now whether it was right or wrong we don’t know yet.”
“The whole year from when we plant this stuff to when we harvest it, we’re rolling the dice. Every day we’re making a decision that hopefully affects yield positively. I made the decision to take the chance on the storm.”