Weekend Storms Destroy Cotton Crops in Hockley County
Heavy rain and hail pounded the South Plains this weekend, leaving behind a path of destruction. NewsChannel 11 went to Hockley County where thousands of acres of cotton were destroyed.
"The storm hit about sundown on Saturday evening and I'm estimating that the storm was about 8.5 to 9 miles wide and really took out a good part of the cotton in Northwest Hockley County," said County Extension Agent Chris Edens.
County Extension Agent Chris Edens has been surveying damage for two days and says the storm couldn't have come at a worse time. "If the storm had hit about two or three weeks later the fiber would've matured so that we probably could've come in with a boll opener and salvaged somethings but the lint just isn't mature enough to harvest right now," Edens said.
About 50-60,000 acres were damaged in Hockley county but another 12-15,000 acres were completely destroyed.
"As you can see in this particular field there is just nothing left on the stalks at all, you can see the plant is just completely defoliated and in a couple of the places you can see the bolls actually made it but we don't have any green leafy substance here and we just aren't far enough along, this lint just isn't mature enough to harvest so even though some of this stuff actually made it, because the plant has been destroyed it doesn't have a prayer," Edens said.
This year Hockley County farmers planted 240,000 acres of cotton and the harvest was looking good, until Saturday night.
"We had a tremendous cotton crop this year. Really in my estimation it was as good as last year and last year was a record year for us, so it's really a shame. Unless you've been in a family farm situation you don't understand the devastation. All the fertilization, the planning, leg work all the hours you put into that crop were destroyed in one night. So it's just extremely devastating and frustrating," Edens said.
This late in the season, the only relief farmers can get is from insurance, as it is too late to plant any other crop in its place.