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Agriculture Today

No way to summarize cotton yields, quality

No way to summarize cotton yields, quality
A semi-trailer truck driver prepares to unload round cotton modules at the Avalon Co-op Gin in Ellis County. The modules average 5,100 pounds each.

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Robert Burns
November 21, 2012
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COLLEGE STATION -- There’s no way to summarize the Texas cotton harvest situation this year, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service cotton expert.

“The Rio Grande had a pretty good year, and the upper Gulf Coast had a great year,” said Dr. Gaylon Morgan, AgriLife Extension state cotton specialist, College Station. “Right in between, with the Corpus Christi area, it was a complete disaster. And from what I’ve seen in the Rolling Plains, it is more or less the exact same thing.

“And the South Plains, more or less the same thing. From my conversations with the regional cotton specialist there, Mark [Kelley], it just depends upon whether you were under one of those timely scattered showers and how much irrigation water you had.”

In the Rio Grande Valley, yields were “about average,” according to producer reports, which was good news considering the way the year started, he said. In the Coastal Bend area, nearly everything had to be zeroed-out by insurance adjusters and destroyed.

“But then you move 60 miles to the upper Gulf Coast, and they had one of the better crops they’ve had in many years in terms of yields,” Morgan said.

In the Rolling Plains, 60 to 70 percent of the crop was mowed down, including nearly all the dryland. Some of the irrigated fields there gave decent yields.

“From talking to irrigated producers out there, it depended upon how much water they had,” he said. “I saw some irrigated fields that looked horrible because the folks ran out of water and didn’t get any help from Mother Nature.”

On cotton fiber quality, 2012 ginned cotton has pretty much been an average year.

“One thing that really stood out, speaking of mainly South Texas, 2011 was a superb year for very low leaf grades and discounts,” he said. “And in 2012, we are back to the five-year average.”

About 25 percent of the cotton classed from the Corpus Christi Classing Office has been classed as high-micronaire cotton, according to Morgan.

Micronaire is a measure of the cotton fiber fineness.

“And that’s basically in line with what the Delta region is seeing too. Upper Gulf Coast had some good rainfall in July, which led to better yields and higher quality, but contributed to the high micronaire,” Morgan said.

AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries for the week of Nov. 5-12:

AgriLife Extension district reporters for the Southwest District, including Wilson, Gonzales, Guadalupe, and Bexar counties, reported high winds and warmer-than-average temperatures reduced soil moisture and dried out vegetation. Most perennial grasses were dormant, and winter grasses and forbs were moisture-stressed. In Hays County, hay cuttings were producing above-average yields. Most corn and cotton was harvested.

AgriLife Extension district reporters for the Coastal Bend District, including Karnes County, reported the drought continued. Some areas had spotty showers in association with a cold front. About 0.25 inch accumulations were average. Some farmers were not fertilizing because of low soil moisture. Winter wheat, oats, ryegrass, and clover planted for winter grazing looked good, but rain was needed for continued growth. The pecan harvest was in full swing, with varying yields. Producers continued to bale a last cutting of hay for the season. Hay supplies were in surplus. Livestock producers continued to supplement cattle with hay and protein.

Robert Burns has nearly 30 years’ experience writing about agriculture and agricultural-related research. He writes about Texas AgriLife Research and Texas AgriLife Extension Service activities at the Overton Center and centers in Stephenville and Temple.

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