While irrigated cotton in the Texas High Plains is in pretty good shape, the majority of dryland cotton is in "dire straits" because of lack of rainfall, said a Texas AgriLife Extension Service agronomist.

"We just haven't had a good region-wide dryland rainfall," said Randy Boman, AgriLife Extension cotton agronomist, Lubbock. "What we've got is that most of the irrigated cotton has been planted, and the guys are really getting on the dryland now because of the final planting dates for insurance purposes."

About half the 3.4 million acres of cotton that Texas High Plains producers reported they intended to plant this year are in dryland, Boman said.

But that doesn't mean half the crop is at risk, he said.

"The irrigated crop yields are normally quite a bit higher," he said. "The irrigated crop is a little bit behind right now, based on what I'm seeing. We've been relatively cool in May. Our heat units are tracking pretty well. But we've had a lot of days where we've had cool mornings and the cotton is just not growing like it should for this time of year."

Though soils remained too dry, Boman said dryland producers were being forced to plant anyway to meet crop insurance guidelines.

Interview of Dr. Randy Boman, Texas AgriLife Extension Service cotton agronomist, Lubbock.