Ups and downs for agriculture in 2017

For the production agriculture industry, 2017 was a year characterized by ups and downs that were determined primarily by weather and what a producer was trying to accomplish when certain weather events occurred. Jay Wilder says the cool wet spring weather created some disease issues for young cotton plants that forced him to replant some fields.

“As cotton is emerging we don’t need a combination of an excessive amount of rain and the cool, which is exactly what we had this year. But we’ve got to have rain, we just don’t need the combination of the two as the cotton is emerging.”

But John Malazzo said that same weather produced an almost stress free environment for growing corn.

“We had enough drying time, as I said to get our fertilizers put out and our herbicides put out and then we’ve been getting rain ever since and this corn crop has had about twenty-one and a half inches on it since planting time. It looks like maybe the best crop I’ve ever had. We still have some time to go so there’s a lot that Mother Nature can throw at you.”

Mother Nature spared the corn but ravaged cotton. Walter Vajdak had cotton ready to harvest when Harvey hit.

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

Harvey also dumped twenty inches of rain on Andy Sherrod’s pecan orchard.

“And that stayed for about a week as it drained off, and then the sun came back out. Photosynthetic activity increased. The trees had ample water, ample sunlight to drive that food engine, and so our kernel quality this year is just outstanding as a result of that deep water we got.”

Additionally, Harvey allowed many hay producers to get a fall cutting. Like most years, Mother Nature created some winners and losers.