The prolonged drought in South Texas, combined with reduced acreage for 2013, will mean a lot less cotton to harvest this season.
In early July, dryland cotton between Rio Hondo and Sebastian in Willacy County showed signs of severe heat and drought stress. Under normal rainfall conditions, plants should have been almost waist high and wide enough to obscure the furrows between the rows, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts.
Cotton harvest in the Lower Rio Grande Valley will not stretch into late fall this year, according to agriculture observers in the region.
“It won’t take long for the cotton harvest to happen in the Rio Grande Valley this year,” said Brad Cowan, AgriLife Extension agent for Hidalgo County,. “There’s just not that many acres. For what did make a crop, it’s going to be a good year—where irrigators had some water.”
While parts of the state have seen some rollback of the worst drought conditions, Lower Rio Grande Valley farmers continue to endure another year of extreme and severe drought, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service personnel.
Cowan says said he’s lost count of how many consecutive years the region has suffered from drought, or of the losses incurred. Cotton producers, in particular, have had very “frustrating” years.
Traditionally, about half of Valley cotton and other crops are irrigated, according to Cowan.
To read more about the ongoing South Texas drought, click here. http://agrilife.tamu.edu/drought/