From the Ground Up - Cotton Update

The latest release of cotton estimates have 57-percent of the Texas cotton crop in poor to very poor condition, and 43-percent of the crop rated fair to good.

Some experts believe the fair to good assessment has been over estimated.

"Here, most of the Brazos Bottom, the cotton's planted on beds, and they use that as a management tool, so that they can knock off part of that bed and plant into moisture. Well, this year, in a lot of situations, they knocked the tops of the beds off, and there still wasn't enough moisture, even to get their cotton up under dry land conditions."

Gaylon Morgan is a cotton specialist for Texas Agrilife Extension and says sparse and erratic rainfall led to some erratic seed germination.

"There was some cotton just emerging, and then cotton that was that tall interspersed amongst it. Some of it came up in April, and some of it came up in May, late May. That presents a lot of challenges from various aspects, pest management, plant growth regulator, weeds, and it'll cause some problems even at harvest time, defoliation at harvest time, just the lack of uniformity."

Early high temperatures had potential to cause even more problems for dry land cotton. "The plants are having a problem holding on to the fruit load that's there, and then also the other thing that can happen is that if that cotton plant fruits up too early, it decides that's all it's ever going to make."

Even some cotton that could be irrigated wasn't immune. "They were thinking it was going to rain, because it usually does, and they put off irrigating so they got erratic stands too, or variable maturity, so that's going to present some challenges. The yield potential is a lot more stable in irrigated, it's just their input costs are going to be a lot more ."

The silver lining for farmers that can make a crop is that cotton prices have remained strong. "If they can make a decent crop then they should be in pretty decent shape, and if the dry land guys can hang on to some just average yields then they should be in decent shape."

I'm Ashley Batey, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.

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