Lubbock's cotton crop for 2011 will be even smaller than previously estimated. The National Agricultural Statistics Service estimates that the greater Lubbock area will produce 1.93 million bales. That's down from a previous estimate of 2.1 million bales, and a 2010 harvest of 5.3 million bales.
Not only that, but according to the Lubbock-based Plains Cotton Growers, "Quality this week suffered a little, with some slightly lower color grades at the Lubbock classing office."
Drought is the culprit in devastating the current crop. As of 8 PM Sunday, Lubbock had 4.93 inches of rain officially for the year. Normally, this time of year it would 18.64 inches of precipitation so we are 13.71 inches behind.
"We're well on our way to establishing a new record driest year," according to the National Weather Service in Lubbock. The driest year on record, for now, is 1917 with 8.73 inches.
With regard to cotton, "... the story all throughout the year has been the dryness in Texas and some of the southern states," said USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber for a recent radio interview.
Longer term forecasts for Lubbock and West Texas that look into the early months of 2012 call for the drought to persist.
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