Rain and cooler weather could affect cotton crops

Updated: Sep. 25, 2017 at 5:35 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Storms that rolled through in mid-September left crops damaged in several parts of the South Plains.

Plains Cotton Growers estimates that tens of thousands of acres were likely damaged, and now it seems mother nature strikes again with the possibility of negatively affecting more crops along the way.

"The rain, especially if we could get a couple of inches, even maybe up to the three, and if it falls right, there's been some areas that are pretty dry," said Steve Verett, Vice President at Plains Cotton Growers.

But the rain is not the problem.

"This cool cloudy weather, for an extended period of time and the weather forecast showing its going to last up until about Thursday anyway, Wednesday to Thursday, and there are areas that are predicting up to eight inches of rain, we do not need that," Verett said.

If the weather stays cool enough… it could affect the maturity of the cotton. A cotton boll needs to be as mature as possible before defoliation starts.

"We would have liked to held on another week, got this last week of September as good open weather, but doesn't look like that's gonna happen right now," said Verett.

If the weather ends up affecting some of the crops, insurance won't do justice this late into the season.

"You know when you get to late September, about the only cost you have left in the crop is defoliation and harvest. Every other possible cost is in the crop," Verett said.

As soon as the weather dries out, farmers will be busy getting ready for Harvest.

"They'll be defoliant going out as soon as it dries up and the weather forecast looks like it's got 10 days or two weeks open weather. Harvest should be well under way by the middle of October," said Verett.

Even with the tens of thousands of acres damaged from the previous storm… it's still very likely that this is one of the better cotton crops we've seen in the area.

"In the big scheme of things, we know we still have close to 3 ½ million acres of cotton to harvest and for the most part, that cotton is in good shape," said Verett.

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