Farmers can look at the calendar and know when to it’s time plant cotton, but, this year it was so dry the decision became do I plant at the time when I’m typically supposed to, or do I wait and keep hoping for a rain?
“I had some that I planted the first of April, and some of that, it was on some irrigated and some dry land. The irrigated came up, course I had to water it up. The dry land never did come up. It didn’t come up ‘til the end of June when it caught a little shower on it.”
Aaron Martinka farms cotton from the Mumford area in Robertson County all the way north into McLennan County, and told us that even irrigated cotton fields struggled to get enough water this year.
“As you drive through irrigated country, you think, boy this looks great, and I’d like to get me a piece of it. This year you really, I was able to realize the pitfalls of and the challenges of irrigation. You know this year it was just so hard to water with the hundred degree heat and the twenty mile an hour winds blowing, it was just hard to keep up, especially on pivot, where you’ve got a lot of evapo-transpiration going on, but even on furrow, the ground was so dry, we never had that rain seal the ground over so it just took forever for the water to reach the other end.”
Yields were determined by how much water you had and how fast you could get it into the ground.
“Where I was able to water early, water often, I made good cotton, made a little over three bales, where you have a farm that’s a little short on water, it was tough, I mean looks like it’s going to be tough to even do two, somewhere between one and two. I had some dry land that was plowed up, some dry land that was rolled up in what I call cow bales, and some dry land I made about half a bale.”
We asked about normal dry land and irrigated yields.
“Well these years it’s hard to, hard to figure out what a normal expectation is. It seems to be an average of the extremes.”
I’m Ashley Batey, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.