While cotton, both dryland and irrigated, looks very good in the Panhandle, it's not the same story for growers in the South Plains and the Rolling Plains, said Texas AgriLife Extension Service agronomists.
Thanks in part to a warmer than usual August, irrigated cotton looked good in all areas, according to AgriLife Extension personnel. But there's very little hope for dryland cotton in the South Plains and the Rolling Plains.
"We're in a situation now where we have a lot of moisture stress on dryland cotton," said Dr. Randy Boman, AgriLife Extension cotton agronomist, Lubbock, who works throughout much of the South Plains area. "And even though we had some good prospects earlier for a late crop after some June 19 and June 20 rains, the dryland crop is now under severe stress."
Boman said the total rainfall for August was less than a half inch, but that cotton heat units were 17 percent above normal.
"What that translates into is we have a (irrigated) crop that's in really fair shape right now and is moving along pretty nicely," he said.
Near Lubbock, Boman said he was already seeing some open bolls.
"We are optimistic that we will have a good irrigated crop. The question is what's going to happen with some late-emerging dryland."
Thanks to a wet August in the Panhandle, most crops look good, said Dr. Brent Bean, AgriLife Extension agronomist based in Amarillo.
"Of course it's been spotty somewhat; some people have had a lot of rain, other's not so much," Bean said. "But overall, the irrigated and the dryland crop are hanging in there pretty good also – if we can just dodge the hail storms."
Panhandle corn and grain sorghum are also doing well, Bean said.
"The corn crop is really outstanding. People didn't overextend themselves, as far as planting, and they could keep up with the watering, and, of course, we got some help in August," Bean said. "We've had very timely rains and the sorghum looks outstanding. We're going to have 4,500 to 5,000 pound (per acre) dryland grain sorghum this year."
Boman noted that the 2009 High Plains and Northern Rolling Plains Cotton Harvest-Aid Guide was recently posted to the Web site of the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Lubbock. The 17-page guide is available for free download and has detailed, newly updated information on harvest aids, determining crop maturity, insect control, reduction of sticky cotton potential, stripper harvesting considerations, and more, Boman said.
More information on drought in Texas can be found at the Web site of the Drought Joint Information Center at http://agrilife.tamu.edu/drought/.