One more rain — just one more inch of water late in the summer could have turned a good cotton yield into a super crop for Steven Beakley.

As it turned out, the Ennis, Texas, cotton, wheat and sunflower producer, was making from 650 to 900 pounds of dryland cotton per acre as he hit the halfway point of harvest in mid-September.

“That’s not bad for dryland cotton, considering the drought,” he says. “I have absolutely no complaints about yields from this crop.”

He says drought in 2013 rivaled conditions of the last two seasons. “We had enough rainfall to make a crop — but just not enough to finish it. Grades may be off a little.”

As harvest moved toward completion, Beakley said quality was improving, with a lot of 36 and 37 staple grades. Final yield indicated a per acre average of about 750 pounds.

Beakley strives to produce the best cotton feasible while conserving as much soil and moisture as possible on the Ellis County farm he works with his father, Bob. That commitment was instrumental in earning him the 2014 Farm Press/Cotton Foundation High Cotton Award for the Southwest Region.

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“Overall, cotton wasn’t as good as in 2012, but it was a good crop,” he says. “All our acreage is dryland and 900 pounds per acre on dryland cotton is a good year.” He says his bottomland cotton will push that 900-pound mark.

Timely rainfall during the growing season kept the crop going, Beakley says, but “We were about one inch of rain away from making a super crop.”