Heavy Rains Delay Cotton Harvest - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/8/08

Heavy Rains Delay Cotton Harvest

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Typically, farmers have started to strip cotton by this time of year. However, the cotton is still too green to harvest. NewsChannel 11 spent the day in Floyd County talking with farmers about when they expect harvest to start.

"I have stripped a lot of cotton 15th, 20th of October irrigated, but now I haven't sprayed an acre," Cotton Farmer Sam Green said.

For more than 25 years, Green has worried about how many socks and cotton shirts mother nature would produce from these fields. But instead of rain, Green says now more sun is needed. "Our pounds are made, I'm more concerned about the heat and quality right now," Green said.

He says the problem is these cotton bolls still aren't mature enough to harvest. So what is the cause?

Cotton Farmer Jerry Chappell says several days of heavy rain in September has kept the ground wet. "It was very beneficial, we were so dry. We were getting really dry and it made a lot of difference," Chappell said.

Chappell farms nearly 1,000 acres north of Floydada. He says the rain helped push the crop forward and even produce a few extra cotton bolls. However, it could be a mixed blessing, as now the quality of the cotton is in question. "We may suffer on the quality a little bit because it is a little behind unless we get some more heat," Chappell said.

Still despite an extremely dry summer and wet fall, Green says so far he expects to have an average or above average crop. "Pretty weather is what we need for a good harvest and that's where we are at," Green added.

Both Green and Chappell say if the weather stays dry, they hope to be on strippers early next month. Plains Cotton Growers Association tells NewsChannel 11 Lubbock area farmers could start harvesting as early as next week.

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