Crop consultants step in when severe weather damages crops - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Crop consultants step in when severe weather damages crops

Blayne Reed describes how a cotton plant can look damaged, but could still have a growing point left behind (source: KCBD video) Blayne Reed describes how a cotton plant can look damaged, but could still have a growing point left behind (source: KCBD video)
Blayne Reed explains how he and his team decide if a yield is still profitable after damaging weather (source: KCBD video) Blayne Reed explains how he and his team decide if a yield is still profitable after damaging weather (source: KCBD video)
(KCBD) -

It's a risk all farmers know comes with the job: severe weather harming their crops.

Some farmers in our viewing area, especially north of Lubbock, are surveying the damage as hail pummeled their cotton crop on Monday night, just as the growing season is getting underway.

When any severe weather damages a farmer's yield, that's when a crop consultant steps in to try and help them figure out the next steps.

"We'll step into the field and help evaluate the stand to see if the stand is going to be profitable or if they need to turn it into insurance and take any steps from there. What to do and how to manage that crop," said Blayne Reed, an IPM agent with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

He says cotton plants are more vulnerable to the weather in our area than other crops.

"It has multiple growing points. They are exposed really early and very susceptible to damage to begin with," Reed said.

Reed says hail damage on young cotton plants can look severe from the surface, but there could be hope.

"One of the key things we need to do in cotton, is to wait two, three, maybe four days and not assess the damage right behind the hail; because every plant is going to look dead. But if we give those already established root zones a chance to come back and find those growing points, and we can see them on cotton and make the determination if that's a living plant or not," Reed said.

Reed showed us how he and his team go about assessing the damage and deciding whether or not a farmer's crop would still make a profit.

"First we need to make sure we have enough viable plants per acre, and how myself and my crew do that when we're consulting in the fields, is we'll actually measure off a thousandth of an acre at several points in the field, we'll walk across these fields...count how many plants, and multiply that and take an average," Reed said.

While no farmer wishes for hail damage, Reed says this timing is better than when the growing season progresses.

"This early in the growing season, they still have options to go with corn or sorghum or maybe wheat, or to choose layout and take their insurance option. Later in the growing season they are taking a direct hit to yield that is not recoverable in really any major way," Reed said.

The deadline for planting cotton to be insured for crop insurance was June 5 in Lubbock and Hale counties, and Reed says it takes about 15 days before an insurance agent can come out and evaluate the damage.

Copyright 2017 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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