KBTX - Brazos Valley This Morning - Headlines

From the Ground Up - Cotton Yields

Dry land farming makes the farmer totally dependent on Mother Nature for the rainfall his crop receives, and this year was pretty brutal for most dry land farmers across our state.

There are some dry land cotton farmers who harvested a cotton crop that only got one rain after it was planted.

"Probably a five or ten year average in this area is probably about seven hundred and fifty pounds, and this year it looks like it's going to be about three hundred fifty, three hundred and eighty pounds, so we're off quite a bit."

Ronnie Hoelscher is a cotton farmer and cotton gin operator in Falls county, and the number of pounds he's talking about are this year's cotton yields per acre.

"We started out planting some cotton in April, first week in April. Some of it didn't come up 'til the middle of May. 'til we got the first rain, and after that it didn't rain another two inches, so basically what we're looking at is a lot of cotton that didn't have no more than two and a half inches on it from the day it was planted."

Crops in Hoelsher's neck of the woods are primarily dry land acres, meaning there is no irrigation available.

"Last year, of course with everybody, we had an exceptional year, where dry land cotton averaged a thousand pounds, two bales to the acre. I guess a lot of new producers jumped in thinking it was going to be easy. All we got to do is throw this seed in the ground, and we got two bale an acre cotton, but uh, well it didn't work out that way."
Technology helped with this year's crop.

"Ten years ago, we would've had this kind of condition, and the boll weevil and the boll worm, it would have been a total disaster. I doubt if it would have, very little cotton would have gotten harvested ten years ago without the technology we have today."
And the silver lining was the price of cotton.

"We got probably, I would say near twenty five, thirty per cent increase in price, to where years ago sixty, seventy cent cotton, now we're looking at a dollar cotton. Cotton seed bringing just about twice as much."

There's always next year.

"Oh it's like always, all famers, they always think things are gonna get better, it ain't gonna get no worse. We're at the bottom now."

I'm Ashley Batey, taking a look at Brazos Valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.


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