The area's 2004 record cotton crop is expected to produce 4.6 million bales, twice the amount of last year. Area harvest is wrapping up but the ginning and classing process is far from complete.
One-third of that 4.6 million bales hasn't been graded or classed yet. There are many cotton modules sitting here at this particular gin. It's the same story with most gins in the area. For the past few months gins have been going 24 hours a day and some aren't expected to finish the season well into April.
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"That's unheard of in this part of the world, normally all ginning operations are finished by the end of January, early February, even with a large crop," explains Roger Haldenby of Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.
He attributes the record crop to new seed varieties producing strong quality cotton and good weather during the beginning of the season. The crop is expected to bring in just over $4 billion into our region's economy. Planting for the 2005 crop will begin at the end of April.