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Estimates of economic losses are still being evaluated, according to association and Texas AgriLife Extension sources, but some counties may suffer as much as 50 percent loss. With cotton currently selling for more than $1 per pound and farmers anticipating a good, if not a bumper crop, financial losses will be significant.
• Farmers had already invested just about every cost except harvest into the crop. A lot had been defoliated.
Additional isolated events
Verett says reports also indicate damage to acreage outside of the area to the southwest of Lubbock with additional isolated events to the north and east of Lubbock in Hale, Floyd and Crosby County and south along the Lubbock/Lynn County line.
“The thing to remember right now is that it will take time to figure out how much acreage has been significantly impacted by the events of the last few days,” says Verett. “Much of the acreage that was bound for harvest in the storm damaged areas is still likely to see a harvester running in them, even though yield and quality may be impacted.
“For the growers that lost crops completely or lost a significant amount of yield potential as a result of this week’s weather there is little that can be done to take the sting out of the loss. As a grower myself, I can attest to the fact this hurts.”
Bishop says insurance will help some farmers survive the loss but may not be sufficient to save them all. “Insurance is great, but farmers had a lot invested in the crop this late in the season,” he says. “A lot of producers who were on the bubble may be over the edge. This loss will put others in a tight spot and may affect loans for next year.”
Verett says the storm may have had an influence on cotton market jumps Friday and Monday.
“In a year as tight as this, it doesn’t take much to set the market off,” he says. “Markets were up 400 points on Friday and 500 points Monday.”
But the storm damage is not likely the only catalyst for market jumps. “China production may also be lower than expected and the world is tremendously short of cotton. Anything that disturbs the current crop is magnified.”
Verett remains optimistic about prospects for the High Plains cotton crop. “The bottom line is, barring any other unforeseen weather, we still have a good crop.”
He says even farmers who sell cotton in marketing pools or who contracted cotton early, should see profitable prices this year. “It should be a good year for cotton farmers. Prices will be better than we’ve gotten the last several years.”