Farmers prepare as first freeze approaches

(KCBD) - With the forecasted  first freeze in sight, cotton farmers across the South Plains have been getting ready.

"The airplanes have been flying, all the ground rigs have been running so there's been a tremendous amount of boll opener go out in the last couple of days, trying to help and prevent as much damage as possible in that regard," Steve Verett, Vice President at Plains Cotton Growers, said.

The first freeze of the year is coming in about five to six days earlier than usual. In a normal year, it wouldn't be that big of a deal. But the crop this year is a little behind.

"Mainly due to the two weeks of cool, cloudy, rainy weather that we had the last week of September and first week of October," Verett said.

That cool weather was not ideal for cotton farmers, but the great weather the rest of October is the answer to their prayers. Until now.

"The fact of the matter is it could be harmful to some of the later cotton," Verett said.

Due to a spring with not average weather, the crops are in many different stages. Some were planted late or lost early then re-planted; those are the ones at risk this weekend.

But for the cotton that was planted timely.
"It could be a blessing to folks whose cotton is mature and ready, they've been defoliating, this could be a way of not having to spend as much money on harvest aid chemicals," Verett said.

Despite the early free farmers remain optimistic that the crops will turnout alright and this frost won't be that harmful.

"It will kind of help speed the process up and get harvest going full blast here in about two weeks," Verett said.

Verett said there was a little bit of an issue with the early harvested crop that was defoliated before the rainy weather in late September, early October, causing some quality problems, but now the quality is coming back and they're hopeful that it will continue to improve.\

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