What is in this article?:
• Rare exceptions show crop promise.
• Some areas have had no rain since last fall.
• Two million acres of cotton in jeopardy in high Plains
Lowest flow since 1951
He said reports indicate that the Frio River is at the lowest flow since 1951, at about 1 cubic foot per minute. Normal flow is around 27 cubic feet per minute.
“The worst place I’ve seen is around McCook.” He said cattlemen are feeding cattle and still seeing death losses. Deer and hogs are also thin and just hanging on.
Good prices will help, Dodson said. “If we can make a crop we have a lifetime opportunity. Prices are good, so we will be okay.”
Dodson said wheat yields have ranged from 10 bushels to 50 bushels per acre, “depending on if the fields got showers or not.
Infrastructure, he said, “will take it on the nose,” as cotton gins and grain elevators see significantly less business from reduced production.
The High Plains is taking a beating, said Rex Carr, seed, chemical, and fertilizer manager for Brownfield Farmers Co-op in Brownfield, Texas. “Conditions are extremely bad as far as the drought and wind. Lots of drip cotton has been replanted due to dry surface and windy conditions. Peanuts are looking good but will need a rain to make any sort of yield.” He said peanut acreage is “way down from last year. I heard one peanut company only has 1,000 acres contracted in Hockley County.”
Cotton farmers were scrambling to get a crop “dusted in” before the June 5 insurance deadline.
Jay Yates, Texas AgriLife Extension economist at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Lubbock, said cotton farmers are scurrying to get seed in the ground.
“Everyone is getting cotton planted right now.”
He said most dryland farmers expect very little from the 2011 crop and may have to rely on crop insurance to salvage anything.
“(Cotton farmers) will be keeping their irrigated acres watered in hopes of a return to $2 prices in the fall. No one is talking about (planting) sorghum in this weather. That could all change with a June 21 ‘soaker.’ If late June storms come with lots of rain and hail, some irrigated cotton acres may go to sorghum, but the attitude seems mostly to take the $1.23 indemnity and get ready for next year.”
Mary Jane Buerkle, director of communications and public affairs for Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., said farmers “dusted in” dryland acreage last week ahead of the June 5 insurance deadline. “Areas south of us have until June 10. It's been hard on the irrigated producers as well, trying to get the cotton up and often having to run sand fighters at the same time.”
She said Lubbock has had no rainfall this spring. “Some areas to the west and east have gotten a little, but not enough to make much of a difference.”
She said PCG has heard no reports of significant acreage cutbacks. “There may be some acreage shifts from dryland way up to the north (near the top of the Panhandle) where they don't have good crop insurance history.”