Above average rainfall in the Upper Coastal Bend is once again forcing a delay in cotton stalk destruction across the region. Chair of the Cotton Producer Advisory Committee (CPAC) for Pest Management Zone 3 has asked for and has been granted an extension deadline for all of Zone 3 until November 26, 2013.
According to officials of the Zone 3 Cotton Producer Advisory Committee, continued rainfall throughout most of October and stretching into November has prevented stalk destruction efforts as saturated soils continue to keep producers out of fields.
If you are enjoying reading this article, please check out Southwest Farm Press Daily and receive the latest news right to your inbox.
This latest extension follows previous extensions this year for the rain-troubled area. The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) previously extended the stalk destruction deadline for Zone 3, Area 1from its normal Oct. 1 deadline to Oct. 15 after an official request was forwarded by CPAC last month, then extended the deadline again in late Oct. to Nov. 1.
Following that action, area wide heavy rains caused Zone 3, Area 2 and Area 3 to be added to the list a few days later at the request of CPAC.
National Weather Service statistics indicate large areas of the Upper Coastal Bend and extending into areas of Southeast Texas have received between 10 and 25 inches of rain over the last 90 days ending on Nov. 15, 2013. Excessive rains have caused flooding and saturated fields over an extended period according to NWS.
Officials at the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation (TBWEF) concurred with CPAC officials resulting in TDA's latest deadline extension, indicating their agreement that there is negligible risk in extending the stalk destruction deadline for all of Zone 3 until Nov. 26, 2013.
Section 20.22 of the Texas Administrative Code provides that the department may grant a blanket extension of the destruction deadline covering an entire cotton stalk destruction zone or a portion of an entire zone under certain circumstances.
Pest Management Zone 3 (Zone 3) consists of three areas:
- Area 1 includes Jackson and Matagorda counties and that portion of Wharton County west of the Colorado River. The standard deadline for cotton stalk destruction in Zone 3, Area 1, is October 1.
- Area 2 includes Austin, Brazoria, and Fort Bend counties and that portion of Wharton County east of the Colorado River. The standard deadline for cotton stalk destruction in Zone 3, Area 2, is October 15.
- Area 3 includes Chambers, Colorado, Fayette, Galveston, Gonzales, Harris, Jefferson, Lavaca, Liberty, Orange, Waller, and Washington counties. The standard deadline for cotton stalk destruction in Zone 3, Area 3, is October 20.
Heavy rains since June have contributed to downgrading the State Drought Monitor for the region. The Texas Drought Monitor rated much of the Upper Coastal Bend and Southeast Texas drought conditions as severe to extreme throughout much of the summer growing season. But as a result of substantial rains since early July, the latest drought monitor released Nov. 12, 2013, indicates drought conditions have now improved to abnormally dry in the Upper Coastal Bend and virtually no drought conditions for most of Southeast Texas.
While rains delayed cotton harvest and stalk destruction this year, officials say they have also restored soil moisture conditions, a positive development for the 2014 cotton crop.