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Rolling Plains Cotton Harvest Halted by Wintery Bluster

28 November 2013

US - Though temporarily halted by a wintery mix of rain and snow, the Rolling Plains cotton harvest was on schedule, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

“From the guys I’ve been talking to up there, they’re looking at maybe 20 per cent of the irrigated cotton left, with yields ranging all over the board, depending upon what kind of rain they had this summer,” said Dr Gaylon Morgan, AgriLife Extension statewide cotton specialist, College Station.

Yield reports of one to three bales per acre were common, but there were scattered reports of as much as four bales per acre, Morgan said.

“Dryland is not quite as far along on the harvest,” he said.

“They want to get their irrigated cotton out first, and are probably only about 50 per cent finished with dryland in the northern Rolling Plains.”

Morgan said that as with irrigated cotton, dryland yields depended upon how much rain was received and when. Dryland production ranged from nothing on fields that were not harvested to as much as two bales per acre.

“Probably a pretty good dryland average will be 300 to 600 pounds per acre,” he said.

The rain and/or ice or snow should not have an appreciable effect upon unharvested cotton quality, Morgan said.

“It’s actually worse in warm and wet weather, because the seed will germinate, and you’ll get a little more staining and increased ginning costs,” he said.

“When it’s wet and cold, it’s usually less of a problem. Fiber color may deteriorate some, but it should not be a big deal.”

The fiber quality from cotton classed at the US Department of Agriculture office in Abilene has been pretty good with more than 375,000 bales ginned, Morgan said. Bark content has been lower than in past years, and strength is a little higher this year.

The southern Rolling Plains harvest was a little further along, he said, about 75 per cent done. There was no reason to suspect that the region’s harvest won’t be wrapped up by Christmas, as it usually is.

TheCropSite News Desk

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