The Texas High Plains cotton crop has lost some 1 million acres to drought and hail, leaving from 2.1 million to 2.2 million acres, according to Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., in Lubbock.
Planted acreage estimates for the 41 counties served by PCG ranged from 3.1 to 3.25 million, says Roger Haldenby, Vice President, Operations. “About one million of those have gone AWOL.”
He expects the Texas Agricultural Statistics Service July report to reflect the lower numbers.
“Most of the losses have come from drought,” he said. “We’ve also seen quite a bit of hail damage, especially in the northern part of the old 25-county PCG service area.”
He said hail damage has been severe in Lamb, Parmer, and Castro Counties, as well as a few others. “The Muleshoe area was hit hard by hail damage and a lot of acreage has gone back to corn or other grain crops,” Haldenby says.
He says the remaining acreage under irrigation may be a mixed bag, “depending on who you talk to. Cotton has been said to ‘promise more and give less and to promise less and give more’ than other crops.”
Some farmers are looking at crop prospects with a pessimistic view, but others expect a good crop, Haldenby says. Cotton often grows out of early stress and makes a good yield. Recovering from late stress is often more difficult, he says.
Haldenby says newer, improved varieties most farmers are planting come on in September and do well.
“This will not be one of our largest crops, but we still have potential of making a good crop, by old standards.”