If you happen to be driving through the Brazos River bottom between around 11am and 9pm, you’ll see a flurry of activity. Local farmers are working as fast as they can to harvest their cotton crops. Joe Brown has more in this week’s From The Ground Up.
"Quality of the cotton, each day we get a north wind and the sun, it'll get better, but there's lint on the ground and the seed's also been damaged. The quality of the seeds, the quality of the cotton's been damaged, but we'll get over here and bring it in from the field, gin it, might use a little more heat, might be a little more trash out there in it."
Joe Fererra manages the Westbrook Cotton Gin in Robertson County.
"They try to make eleven or twelve hundred, sometimes fifteen hundred pounds of cotton per acre. Now it's down to probably seven to eight hundred pounds of cotton per acre. With that and the lower price, they're just going to do the best they can."
Fererra says the rush is on to get this year’s crop picked.
"You'll go as fast as the dry ground will let you. Some people are just now going to defoliate their crops, because they just didn't want to defoliate while it was raining, but they'll try to go as fast and as hard as they can. You normally can't start until the dew gets off the cotton in the morning, and you've got to stop at night when the dew gets on the cotton once again."
Westbrook Gin operates 14 hours a day to try and keep up with the farmers.
"Today is Tuesday. We'll probably outrun the pickers by Thursday or Friday, and we'll shut down and do a little bit of repairs and get back ready to go."
Normally, farmers in the Brazos River bottom produce some of the highest quality cotton grown anywhere.
"This quality is ok for a whole lot of clothing, especially blue jeans, and things like that. If it were a perfect quality it would be the great shirts that you see, the high quality cotton shirts."
And soon it will be time to begin work on another crop.
"Just go pencil in the numbers, see what the banks will do, get this one behind us, and start all over next year."
I’m Joe Brown, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.
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