From the Ground Up: High hopes for “High cotton”

Published: May. 6, 2022 at 10:48 AM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - As we’ve seen from the sprouting trees and lawns and the clouds of pollen filling the windy air, it’s growing season! While a LOT of crops in the Brazos Valley have already been planted, farmers have got high hopes for high cotton.

“This corn right here is about 35 days old,” says Jay Wilder, gesturing toward a field of miniature green sprouts. He showed us around his field, showing the different corn plants at slightly different days old, then to milo, or grain sorghum, that was planted at about the same time.

Up next, is cotton. Lots of it.

“We’re gonna have more cotton than normal,” says Wilder. “Usually we have a 60/40 rotation with 60% grain sorghum 40% cotton, this year it’ll be the other way, basically.”

Fuel and fertilizer costs are a worry, along with the potential need for irrigation, thanks to drought. But cotton is still going for a lot on the market. That’s why they’re waiting for just the right conditions to get things planted.

“Last week, the cool weather, cool mornings were marginal on moisture so we don’t wanna take a risk of putting it in the ground and not coming right up,” Wilder says. “The longer it lies there the harder it is to get up.”

The dry April and windy spring make weed application harder, but current crops are sprouting

“Grain sorghum, corn, sunflowers, they’re all planted and emerging, or up.”

While planting and harvesting may seem like the “busy season”. Wilder says for most producers, “busy” is always in season.

“There’s always something to do. When we get that good rain we’ll go to ranching, we’ll work calves and be doing something with cattle. It’s always busy.”

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