Texas Cotton Prospects Dimming with Strong Winds, No Rain

The South Plains has gone about two months without significant rain. Humidity has been low. Windy conditions have prevailed since early January.

Experts say the gusty conditions - with winds sometimes blowing more than 65 mph - have sucked valuable moisture from fields.

It's still about ten weeks until farmers start planting in the world's largest contiguous cotton patch, but the arid, windy conditions already have them fretting.

Roger Haldenby with Plains Cotton Growers says they're starting to get concerned about the top layer of soil crusting and turning to sand when strong winds blow. He says without future rain -- that drying continues to deepen.

Heavy rain last year throughout Texas led to the second-largest crop on record: 8.1 million bales, with about 5.3 million from the South Plains.