Soaking Cotton Wreaks Havoc - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/28/02

Soaking Cotton Wreaks Havoc

What was looking like a promising year for area farmers is beginning to take a turn for the worse. This is the time of year when farmers begin harvesting their crops, so far about 50% of Lubbock County is already harvested.

But with the recent rains the field work has stopped, farmers can't continue harvesting until the fields are dry enough to drive their tractors through. And the longer the crops are wet, at this point the worse off the farmers are.

With his work boots on the front porch, Doug Hlavaty works inside, waiting for the rain to stop pounding his crops. "Right now it's just sitting and waiting we're waiting for the weather to dry up, all this rain has kept us out of the field now for nearly two weeks," Doug Hlavaty said.

Doug has been farming with his two brothers for almost 30 years, last year they lost their crop in a hail storm, but this year things were looking good. "We thought we were ahead of the game, we defoliated nearly all our cotton, nearly every bit of our crop has been defoliated, so we were just in line to harvest and in two weeks we could've been nearly through," Hlavaty said.

But then came the rain and for many of the farmers in Lubbock County the concern isn't that their crops are ruined, their concern has turned to the quality of the crops the longer the cotton stays wet the less its going to be worth.

"We could lose up to $20 to $25 a bail on quality. It used to be a lot more fun, when you could make good money out of it but now its tougher and tougher to make a real good profit. We're getting by but we're not really getting ahead." Doug says he has too much invested to walk away, and while the uncontrollable elements are disappointing, it has been a better year.

Farmers say dry weather and a good freeze would help them pull a crop out of all this wet weather.

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