High Rainfall & Low Temps Worry Area Cotton Farmers - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/31/04

High Rainfall & Low Temps Worry Area Cotton Farmers

Rainfall totals are already above average for the year, and with more rain in the forecast, cotton farmers fear for their crops.

Cotton farmers welcome rain, but it's timing that matters. And what they need now is heat and a lot of it. "We're probably ready for it to slow down at that level but most of the area got between a half an inch or an inch and it's still a reasonable amount to have this year," says Roger Haldenby of Plains Cotton Growers.

According to Haldenby, the rain was great earlier this season but from now until harvest time farmers are hungry for heat. "We're desperately in need of these cloudy skies moving away and giving us an open September and October with warm days and warm nights to get heat into cotton," explains Haldenby.

Farmers may get their wish within 90 days, but not in the immediate future. Justin Weaver, meteorologist in charge at Lubbock's National Weather Service says the rain will continue throughout the month but the fall forecast is a sunny one. "We can bank on seeing stretches of some temps back in the nineties for several days at a time," says Weaver.

A pattern he says we'll be seeing through the end of harvest. "The potential for such a great crop is there but there are several things that can go wrong and they're all [farmers] aware of that and kind of have their fingers crossed," says Weaver.

With the rain and lack of sunshine, farmers fear an early freeze this year which would force an early harvest. Weaver says the first freeze usually hits around October 31st, but the high precipitation doesn't mean there will be an early freeze.

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