Early cotton harvest reports from Oklahoma cotton gins show the potential still exists for a good crop and a 95 cent per pound of lint price is making cotton farmers happy across the Rolling Plains of Oklahoma.

At the Tillman Producers Cooperative gin south of Frederick, gin manager David Lingle has ginned 300 bales of cotton to date and is waiting for more to come.

"If the producer waits until his cotton is ready to harvest, the yield really looks good," Lingle says. "If they have gotten in a hurry to harvest and bring it to us a little green, the situation isn't quite so good.  With a 95 cent price waiting for them, farmers are going to be stripping a lot of cotton and getting it in quickly.

"These cold nights are not helping us right now. If temperatures will get back into the high 80s with plenty of sunshine, we will see some really good cotton in two to three weeks. We still have plenty of time to get the harvest started."

In Jackson County, Mike Berry, manager of the Cotton Growers Cooperative gin at Altus, says his gin has processed 2,100 bales of irrigated cotton to date.

"A lot of our irrigated cotton is still green," he says. "We are ginning with two eight-hour shifts right now. It will pick up soon. This will be a good crop. We will see plenty of two plus bale cotton this season."

Still in Jackson County, the Eldorado Farmers Cooperative Association gin has ginned 400 bales to date. "We have been ginning for a week now," Barney Trammel, cooperative manager says. "We have about 900 bales in modules setting on the yard waiting to be ginned."

High yield

Trammel said Mike Mefford, one of his farmers, had a yield of 1,765 pounds per acre of lint cotton from one of his fields.

Trammel expects to gin more cotton in 2010 than last year. "We ginned 28,323 bales last year," he says.

Managers at Blackwell, Chattanooga and Burns Flat cotton gins report no cotton ginned at those facilities yet, but they expect to begin in a week or two.

Ryan Sawatzky, manager of the Burns Flat Cooperative Association Gin in Washita County, reports cotton should be coming in there in about a week. He expects a dryland crop yielding one- and-a-half to one-and-three-quarters of a bale per acre. "We ginned 6,300 bales last year and 2010 should be better," he says.

Up north at Blackwell, Okla., just south of the Kansas border, Great Plains Cotton Gin is still waiting for cotton since it is well north of the gins operating in southwestern Oklahoma. They expect a good crop this year.

At the Tri-County Gin east of Chattanooga, manager Craig Bolton hasn't seen any cotton hauled in yet, but he expects to begin ginning in three weeks. With more than 30,000 acres of dryland cotton planted this year, the gin will be busy when the season starts.

"Where we got rain at the right time, we could be harvesting two-bale cotton," Bolton says.

TALKIN' COTTON is produced by NTOK Cotton, an industry partnership which supports and encourages increased cotton production in the Rolling Plains of North Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. For more information on the cotton scene, see ntokcotton.org and okiecotton.org. For comments or questions about Talkin’ Cotton, contact eventerprise1@hughes.net.