Harvey presents cotton harvest challenges

Most dryland cotton farmers in our area got off to a pretty good start this year enjoying a cool wet spring. Some hit a little bump in June with some dry weather, but many managed to make a pretty good crop by harvest time.

Enter Hurricane Harvey, and all bets were off. The problem is that farmers’ bets were already made. Walter Vajdak and his brother dryland farm in Burleson County.

“Before Harvey came along the other day, the cotton still looked pretty good and then Harvey came along and we had, not a whole lot of wind but lots of rain. We probably had twenty plus inches right here on this place. We’re fortunate that we’re high enough that the water drained off and it didn’t stand in water for a long period of time.”

Wednesday, Vajdak told us that they were picking the field that weathered Harvey the best.

“I’d say the lint loss is probably thirty percent and then grade loss probably another twenty percent so you're sitting on fifty percent.”

Vajdak says they did manage to get one cotton field they have in a creek bottom picked the day before the storm hit.

“We got it picked and got it in modules and round bales and sat them on the turn row, and of course that night it started raining and they’re still sitting up there and they probably got three feet of water standing, maybe more. We haven’t been able to get down there. There was so much water there.”

Vajdak says it remains to be seen whether that cotton can be ginned or not.

“The other field we have down in Clay, it hasn’t been picked yet. It has some loss and damage and it has some low areas in it that did get under water, so there’ll be spots in the field that are going to be really weak and then of course, you’re going to have wind damage, some loss there, so we’ll see what that turns out.”

The Vajdaks won’t know for sure how their crop weathered this storm until it’s all picked and ginned.