If you've been traveling the countryside this spring you may have noticed a change in the rural landscape that has been brought about by the prolonged drought; less cattle, very little corn, and more cotton.
"There are very few corn acres or grain acres in the valley that will be considered a decent crop. Most of it has failed."
Luckily, John Malazzo didn't plant any corn this year. He planted all cotton. It can take dry weather. It can wait longer between rains than corn can where corn, you have to have the moisture at the exact right time, whereas cotton, it can wait, ten days or two weeks."
Normally, Malazzo plants a combination of corn and cotton and rotates the crops. "We took a chance this year because we were going into the winter dry, without much subsoil moisture, the cotton market was so outstanding, and we're cotton people, and when you have to deal with the aflatoxin issues that we had last summer with the corn crop, it just kind of left a bad taste in our mouth."
We'll have to get some rain to be able to salvage any dry land cotton. "It looks like our dry land crop is not going to be what we want it to be, because of our lack of subsoil moisture, and the very limited rainfall that we got this spring.
We do have a stand in most areas of the dry land fields, but the prognosis is not good for that, going into the hot part of the year like we are." Malazzo says this may be the year that the amount he has invested in irrigation equipment pays off. "Our irrigated crops, even though we had to spend a lot of money to get them going, at least we do have a crop, and hopefully we'll get some help during the summer with some rainfall, but even if we don't, the irrigated people should have a chance to grow a reasonable crop."
I'm Bob French, looking at Brazos valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.