West Texas Farmers Pray for Rain During Crucial Growing Time - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/30/03

West Texas Farmers Pray for Rain During Crucial Growing Time

Chances for rain, has West Texas farmers playing the waiting game. Farmers say now is the most crucial part of the growing season and rain right now could double their profits. Right now, cotton plants are in the blooming stage. Farmers here say rain right now means more cotton coming from blooms, a bigger profit, and a healthier local economy.

Dale Kitchens keeps America clothed and the West Texas economy flourishing with every cotton crop he plants.

"This cotton's getting almost knee high and making a lot of progress," says Kitchens as he walks through a field of future t-shirts, socks, and jeans. A far cry from where he was a little over a month ago when a hail storm wiped out his 5500 acres and left one third of the South Plains crop destroyed.

So, Dale, like many South Plains farmers, was forced to replant. But now this new crop is growing weeks behind schedule.

"What you see here is late replanted cotton and which today we are certainly praying that the rain is in the forecast. It would be a double blessing for us," says Kitchens.

A blessing that could have major benefits, doubling cotton yields and costing less money to water. "I'm very encouraged to see late cotton that's blooming now because it's guaranteed you're gonna make a boll and if it doesn't rain."

Dale will continue to use this expensive pivot system spending hundreds of dollars a day to bring life sustaining water to his crops. "Now would be perfect timing for rain because that's when cotton needs the most moisture right when it starts to put the most fruit on," says Kitchens.

More rain will help all farmers produce profitable crops helping to drive our local economy. Officials at Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. say every dollar spent on agriculture turns over almost four times in our local economy, making agriculture the largest contributor to the South Plains.

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