Cotton crop takes a hit from Hurricane Harvey

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BURLESON COUNTY, Tex. (KBTX) - Farmers in the Brazos Bottom are still feeling the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

The bottom third of many of the cotton plants are ruined from the record rains and can't be harvested.

Jay Wilder has been farming for more than 20 years. Rain from Hurricane Harvey wasn't kind to his farm outside Snook.

"I had 26.8 inches of rain. A lot of this cotton right here where we're standing actually was underwater. It was under a four, five day period. Itt's hard to really figure out what to do with it," said Wilder of J&J Cattle.

Wilder expects to lose 30 to 50 percent of his cotton crop.

"Our bottom third, it's basically just rotted it off. As soon as we hit that with a picker, it's just going to fall off, and you can tell. It's super muddy and actually, it's hard to believe but we could use a half inch, inch of rain to kind of help clean this stuff up a little bit before we do pick it," explained Water.

"This is what a lot of our cotton bolls look like in the Brazos Bottom now. It's lost that fluffiness. Not as much can be picked up by the cotton harvester. So the farmers lose both fiber quality and seed quality on that respect," said Gaylon Morgan.

Morgan is the State Extension Cotton Agronomist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

"A couple things happen to cotton when it gets wet. When the mature cotton gets wet, when the lint bolls open up, and the lint is exposed. When it gets a lot of weathering like that you lose lint quality which affects the growers bottom line," Morgan added. "But also seed quality, which a lot of people don't realize. But seed is a secondary income for the growers and the ginners in that process," said Morgan.

Another crop still being harvested is soybeans.

Wilder is keeping a close eye on how those turns out this year.

His neighbor took a hit after the fields flooded.

"Ours actually aren't quite ready, yet we double crop behind wheat. They're probably a month out on harvest. But on the rainfall with them, I don't think we were impacted too bad. It's mother nature throwing another curve ball," said Wilder.

Some good news is cotton prices may not go up.

Morgan tells says most of the state's cotton crop is grown in West Texas and wasn't impacted by the storm.

We're told many farmers do have insurance just for situations like this.