Texas High Plains cotton producers face a plethora of weather and pest problems as they finish planting the 2013 crop.

Reports from the Texas AgriLife area cotton specialist and integrated pest management agents indicate that drought continues to be the crucial factor as the region moves into its third consecutive season of limited rainfall.

Planting is well underway, says Extension cotton specialist Mark Kelley, Lubbock. “Things are definitely rolling out here,” he says.  “But, as was the case the previous two years, we have a mixed bag.  The highest rainfall total I have heard was from Rickey Bearden at Plains. He got around 1.25 inches from the latest weather events, which will definitely help get things going. Other producers still need more help getting stands established.  I have a producer in Lubbock County, near Acuff, who needs a bit more moisture on his drip irrigation to get cotton to germinate.” 

Kelley says dryland farmers will need more rain to have any hope of making a crop.

“I was just over in Crosby County with Mark Appling.  We are planting a large plot variety trial under a pivot, placing seed just above the moisture, and he is planning to water it up.  Due to the lack of ‘beneficial rainfall’ in this area, and the declining well capacity, Mark is planning on irrigating half the pivot circle and not watering the other half after stand establishment.  So, in essence, the non-irrigated half will be dryland.

“We keep hoping for the best out here, but planning for the worst,” Kelley says.  “These guys, and gals, have definitely proven they can overcome adversity with faith and sound management skills.” 

Manda Anderson, IPM specialist for Gaines County, says rainfall has been scarce. “Sadly to say, we still have not received any significant rainfall.  Some fields got from 0.1 to 0.2 inches of rainfall over the weekend.  Farmers north of Gaines County have received some rain.”