The cotton was late to be planted because of weather, and might not have made a crop some years. But nearly perfect October conditions allowed the late cotton to mature, Baughman said. Also, the area cotton had considerable re-growth, which is harder to kill by chemical means.

"A lot of guys who had already sprayed once will still need a killing frost to kill the cotton."

Baughman expected above-average yields on dryland cotton. About 90 percent of the Rolling Plains cotton crop is grown without irrigation.

"Yields have been kind of all over the board, but overall I think we'll be above average," Baughman said. "Dryland, long-term average has been about a half bale (per acre), and I definitely think we'll be in the 300- to 400-pound range across the whole area. Now, we're going to have some individual fields that are way above the average."

In the South Plains, fields dried out rapidly, allowing the cotton harvest to continue, according to AgriLife Extension agent reports. U.S Department of Agriculture offices continued to give incoming cotton samples high marks on quality.

rd-burns@tamu.edu