West Texas Cotton Farmers Planting Rapidly to Meet Deadline - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/9/03

West Texas Cotton Farmers Planting Rapidly to Meet Deadline

Planting is the most crucial part of making a cotton crop a successful one. That's because farmers have to get their seed in just the right spot in the ground for it to come up. At the Langston Farm, they're planting on irrigated land. The key is to get the seed far enough in the ground to reach moisture so it will grow. It's tedious work because they have to stop every so often to check and make sure they get the seed in at just the right depth.

Don Langston's had the same tough job for 44 years, but for this West Texas cotton farmer, each year is different. "We're hoping we can do a little better on our dry land than we did last year. We'd like to get up to a bale an acre plus," says Langston.

Today he plants acres of future socks, shirts, and jeans. "We can get 100 to 150 acres a day depending on what time you get started how much trouble you have and what time you get started."

But trouble for Don and his farmhand, Pancho, of 24 years is rare. "He and I just understand what each others' doing and work together real good," says Langston.

They're working relationship is put to the test during planting time. Which is make or break time for West Texas farmers. "He's real conscientious this time of year in fact he gets too nervous because he worries at night, did I get it in wet dirt, because you never know out here in West Texas because if you plant it just right and the wind blows like it did yesterday then it'll dry out," says Langston.

That could force them to replant, doubling their expenses. Which stands at $50 an acre. "That's seed, insecticide, water, and chemical for weed control," says Langston.

With only two tractors running, they burn up 150 gallons of diesel everyday. So planting seeds right the first time is not only practical, it's mandatory. "He knows the practicality of the expense of the seed we're putting down and also just the practicality of it. You don't want to have to do it again," says Langston.

They're about to wrap it up out here as soon as the sun goes down. Langston says they're racing against the clock right now to get seed in the ground. Hoping for more rain, and less wind. They'll be planing for another week or so to meet the Lubbock county planting deadline June 5th.

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