The combination of heat and wind is producing record evapotransporation (ET) rates, according to Heffington. “There were two days when we set a record for an ET rate of 0.68, and the next day it was 0.52 . So in two days, we had evapotransporation rates of 1.25 inches. It takes seven days for producers to send a pivot around to put out 1.25 inches, and it was sucking it out in two days. That’s why we can’t get a crop germinated. We can’t keep up with the evaporation rate.”

On speculation that Texas producers may collect their insurance payment for a failed crop and plant wildcat cotton, Heffington noted, “They’re not going to spend $70 an acre to plant seed on dry dirt that they couldn’t get cotton up on the first time.”

Carl Anderson, Extension professor emeritus, Texas A&M University, believes USDA’s June 30 acreage report will project about 6.1 million acres planted in Texas. “But it will be meaningless. We’re going to lose so many acres where cotton will not even germinate. The big question is how much can you get out of irrigated acreage, which traditionally averages about two bales an acre.”

Heffington says many producers on irrigated ground he’s talked to expect to make 50 percent to 65 percent of their average yields. “Nobody is talking about being in the 1 ton club. Many would be happy to make a bale under a circle.”

Heffington says forecasts call for a possible rain in the High Plains for around June 20, “then after that, we don’t expect any rain events until the fall if moisture comes up from a hurricane. Some forecasters think we may be in the midst of a two-year drought and we may not have significant rainfall until a year from now. It’s made everybody very nervous.”

The drought has turned optimism over prices into despair over the lack of rain, according to Heffington. “A lot of producers took (Allenberg Cotton Co., CEO) Joe Nicosia’s advice a few months ago when he said to plant every acre you can to cotton. Every acre that was fallow was planted by producers looking at $1.20 cotton. Everybody went into this crop thinking we’d get a rain in May, that even half-bale cotton would be better than nothing. We were willing to invest the money expanding acres. But it doesn’t mean anything when nothing comes up. We just can’t beat this heat.”