Despite so many cards being dealt against it through the growing season, South Plains cotton looks very promising, said Mark Kelley, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service cotton specialist, Lubbock.
The region had a cooler-than-normal spring and late freezes, and remained locked in drought by mid-summer, Kelley said. There were also the usual High Plains pitfalls of hail, high winds and blowing sand that knocked out some fields. And many dryland re-plantings of hailed-out or blown-out fields were late, bumping right up against the crop insurance planting deadlines.
And the latest discouraging development was that winter came early this year to the area, with freezing or near-freezing weather shutting down late-set boll development on late-planted cotton that could have really used another couple of weeks to finish out, he said.
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“They had their first freeze earlier this month farther north, but around Lubbock we just recently had 32 degrees for a little bit the other night,” he said. “This means any boll maturation is done, so we’re just waiting for harvest aides to go out and dry those plants down to get them ready for stripper harvest.”
Kelley said the average first freeze for the area is around Oct. 31.
Read more about South Plains cotton yield.