Winter storms, high winds pose problems for late cotton harvest

High winds, winter storm hurt cotton crop

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - With incoming high winds, farmers on the South Plains are hoping that their remaining cotton crop will survive, but harvesting that crop quickly is posing a problem after last week’s winter storm

From getting the trucks on the field, to picking up the modules, last week’s winter storm is posing some unique problems for farmers and ginners trying to collect the rest of this year’s crop.

With the incoming winds there’s a worry that the little cotton that’s left in the field will be unusable.

Brian Lehrmann, General Manager of Ropes Co-Op Gin, says hopefully this means next year will be better. “It’s been a really weird year, extremely dry growing conditions, extremely wet harvest conditions fingers crossed that hopefully it just shows 2019 is going to be a good year for us.

That’s because 2018 posed a lot of problems.

“A lot of rain, hail, now snow, winds, dirt storms, its defiantly hit all aspects here in this harvest season,” says Lehrmann.

Aspects like December’s winter storm make gathering that cotton extremely difficult. “Conditions on the yard are pretty tough, but we’re trying to work through it and as long as we can pick up modules on the yard, it will give us time to get back into the field.”

Lehrmann adds that picking up the modules isn’t easy either, “It’s really hard for a truck to get underneath modules and pick them up and take them to the gin plant.”

Which leaves this cotton to sit and wait in the field. “In order for us to get back out into the field to pick up cotton on the gin yard… I’ve got to have a dry place to put them, and so I really need my gin yard to dry back out so we can get to hauling again and not run out of cotton that’s still out in the field.”

While this happens, the crop in the field waits to be harvested.

While looking at the cotton in the field, Lehrmann explains, “bolls... that are stringing out [is] really good quality cotton that potentially is going to end up on the ground if we cant get it out in the next few days.”

While the high wind possibly hurts the cotton in the field, it could help what is already harvested.

“If we’re going to have the type of winds that we have tomorrow, this gin yard could be dried out by Friday, Saturday.”

If that happens, the cotton in field can get back into production. “North to Amarillo, to uh, all across West Texas, and across the rolling plains, there’s a lot of cotton that’s growing out here, so when weather conditions hit, it no doubt hits it no doubt affects the amount of cotton that is produced on the world level.”

These tough conditions giving hoped that there will be a better harvest next year.

“Always trying to look towards the future," says Lehrmann. "And take some positives out of some tough conditions.”

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