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Cotton Outlook Better than Last Year but Still a Mixed Bag

Cotton Outlook Better than Last Year but Still a Mixed Bag

22 May 2014

US - Though recent rains improved the cotton outlook for some regions, it’s still a “mixed bag” for the state overall, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

The March predictions by the National Cotton Council were of a double-digit percentage increase in plantings over 2013, and those still hold water, said Dr Gaylon Morgan, AgriLife Extension statewide cotton specialist, College Station.

However, Morgan noted that planted acres do not always equate to harvestable acres during prolonged drought.

“We still have some of the major cotton producing areas of the state – Rolling Plains, South Plains and the Panhandle – in either extreme or exceptional drought,” he said.

There has been a number of challenges to all cotton growing areas throughout the state, Dr Morgan noted.

There was a late spring cold front in April that hurt emerged cotton and delayed planting in South and East Texas, for example.

This problem, along with worsening of drought in practically all the state in the past few months, has raised the stress level for cotton growers.

“It’s been a frustrating year for many, to say the least,” he said.

But rains have greatly improved things for the time being in South Texas, Central Texas, east of Interstate 35, and the Blacklands, Morgan noted.

Although time is limited, there’s still some hope for other parts of the state to catch up. In the Rolling Plains, those with irrigation have pre-watered and were already planting, he said.

As for Rolling Plains dryland producers, they will need a rain before they can hope to establish a crop. They have until mid-June as a final planting window.

“And there’s a good chance of rain (for the Rolling Plains) later this week,” Dr Morgan said. “The dryland guys are definitely going to wait and see what happens before they start planting.”

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