Sep. 7: I saw some good cotton today, some of the three to four bale variety, out in Gaines County, Texas. Of course, it was irrigated but it’s the best cotton patch I’ve seen all summer.

Several fields south of Lubbock also show promise of better than two-bale cotton.

And while I was enjoying the cool respite of mid-70-degree temperatures cotton farmers were hoping for a bit more hot weather to finish this challenging crop. A week or so of sun and heat, they say, will make it.

Depending on variety and planting date, growers may begin applying harvest aides to some of this High Plains cotton. A few bolls were open and many were hard and mature enough to challenge a sharp knife blade.

I visited with a vegetable grower who also hopes to see a drying trend. He’s been harvesting in the rain and muck. Leaving veggies in the field a day means losing a day’s production.

Tractors and wagons leave deep gashes in the soil where tires create ruts that will challenge traffic for weeks to come.

Texas cotton is a mixed bag. A lot of farmers who irrigate say their crop will be as good as last year. A few dryland fields looked as if they might make some cotton but nothing near the bumper yields of 2005.Many have been abandoned. Overall, dryland cotton on the Southern Plains will not make much. Some folks are guestimating total state production at or just under 5 million bales.

Peanuts looked petty good in Gaines County as well. One producer hopes to push three tons per acre.

Producers, other than the vegetable guys, were glad to see the rain and say they will need no more expensive irrigation applications to finish the crop. Energy prices have made this a costly production year.

e-mail: rsmith@farmpress.com