Cotton harvest put on pause after freezing weather

Cotton crops damaged by freezing weather

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The freezing weather has interrupted the cotton harvest this year, leaving farmers to assess how much damage has been done to their crops.

When cotton bolls freeze, the weight of the ice will pull the plant down and pull the lint out of the boll. Idalou farmer Scott Harmon said. When the lint touches the ground, the plant is no longer profitable.

“Is it ten percent is? Is it two percent? It’s something. It is a loss," Harmon said. “It will cost in additional cotton on the ground that’s going to come back as a weed next year because it’s not in the row where you can gather it.”

The lint outside of harvesting lanes will eventually grow in the soil and take away moisture from next year’s crop.

“The definition of a weed is a plant out of place. If it is not in the place where you can gather, retrieve it, sell it, then it is a weed," Harmon said.

Farmers who haven’t stripped their cotton have lost many budding bolls. The freezing temperatures stop the lint from growing.

“The freeze turned the oven off permanently," Harmon said.

West Texas farmers are now waiting for fields to dry before they begin harvesting.

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