Heavy rains that inundated much of West Texas just before and during the July 4th weekend may be more blessing than curse, according to Jay Yates, Texas AgriLife Extension Economist - Risk Management at Lubbock.

“If we dry out and get hot for awhile, which is the norm for this time of year, it will put us well on our way to that record crop we have been talking about,” Yates said. “The overall percentage of cotton that is under water is actually very small. It is just that those dramatic pictures are the ones that get the most circulation.”

He said the rainfall came with no severe weather, “not even any lightning, much less any hail or wind, and has been followed by neither.” He said hail damage still remains a possibility as temperatures begin to heat up. “But I’m sticking by my earlier abandonment figure –no more than 2 percent of the crop. I may be bumping my dryland yield estimate another 50 to 100 pounds.”

He said losses appear to be evenly distributed between irrigated and dryland acreage.

“As long as it warms up and dries out after this event is over, it will be a big net positive. We started blooming this week, so we couldn't ask for better timing. Only cotton in low lying areas will be negatively affected.”

Rainfall amounts exceeded 9 inches in some locations with a high of 10 inches measured in O’Donnell, according to the West Texas Mesonet (WTM) web page.

Information from Mesonet indicated that a “persistent plume of moisture from the tropics inundated the Permian Basin/Big Bend and South Plains region of West Texas during late June and early July. Additional tropical moisture from Hurricane Alex created torrential rainfall in the Lubbock area from late on July 1st through early morning of July 4th.”

The site reported substantial urban and field flooding and closed roads in the Lubbock, Ropesville, Wolfforth, Post, and Brownfield communities. A four-foot rise was reported at White River Lake (Crosby County) with an eight-foot rise in water levels at Lake Alan Henry (Garza County).

email: rsmith@farmpress.com