Higher Energy Costs Make This Year's Cotton Crop One Of The Most Expensive Ever Planted - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/24/08

Higher Energy Costs Make This Year's Cotton Crop One Of The Most Expensive Ever Planted

Cotton experts say high-energy prices make this year's South Plains, cotton crop one of the most expensive ever to be planted.  Farmers say coupled with several days of severe weather it could be a costly combination.  

Diesel, it is used in growing the cotton socks you put on and shirts you wear.

"We're consuming diesel every time we go to the field with a tractor, trucks, vehicles; some irrigation is powered by diesel. So everything we do is basically affected by the price of diesel," Bernie Thiel, Owner of Sunburst Farms said.

 According to the Energy Information Administration over the last two months, the price of diesel has jumped more than 40 cents nationwide. It is costly increase, which has Thiel trying to conserve fuel.

"You know maybe not make this trip if you don't have to make the trip over the field. But you have to do so much to make sure your crop is going to be a good crop," Thiel said.

However, it is not just the cost of fuel that has gone up. "Seed and chemicals it's all gone up by 25% to 30%," Thiel added.

 Thiel said he seeded nearly 225 acres of cotton, which has faced West Texas winds, and recent days of rain and hail.

"It knocked the crop. Just totally knocked it off completely," Thiel said.  The hail also damaged much of Thiel's squash crop.

"The squash was hailed on last Thursday, it was pretty bad. We did not completely lose the crop. We're hoping we can come back in and start picking in a few more days," Thiel added.

 Rows of zucchini destroyed and young cotton damaged. Coupled with record operating costs, Thiel says he is now concerned if this year's crop will cover a budget that continues to rise.

"What we need is some weather cooperation and some good luck and then the markets when we get to harvest," Thiel said.

 It is not just the planting and harvesting that is costing farmers this year. Cotton experts tell us that pumping water to water these fields has also increased.

 

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