NCC Tour Educates Congressional Staff

LUBBOCK, August 20, 2004                      By Shawn Wade

      Congressionalstaff representing six House districts and two Senate offices traveledthroughout the Southwest the week of August 16 to gain an insider's view of thecotton industry and meet with regional cotton industry leaders.

      PlainsCotton Growers welcomed the group to Lubbock and to provide an overview of thePCG's activities and the High Plains production area. PCG staff and ExecutiveCommittee members met and interacted with the group during a Monday nightmeeting, reception and meal at the Texas Tech University Ranching HeritageCenter.

      JoiningPCG on the program were representatives from the Rolling Plains Cotton GrowersAssociation, the Southern Rolling Plains Cotton Growers Association and theTexas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation.

      Sponsoredby the National Cotton Council and Monsanto, the yearly Cotton Orientation Tourprovides congressional staff an opportunity to learn about the issues thatimpact the cotton industry and develop a better working relationship with themfor the future.

      Tourparticipants included: Christina Clayton, Rep. Kay Granger (TX); Merritt Myers,Sen. Zell Miller (GA); Anne Cannon, Rep. Dennis Cardoza (CA); Amy L. Dyer, Rep.Ralph Hall (TX); Kathy Reding, Rep. Randy Neugebauer (TX); Walt Smith, Rep.Henry Bonilla (TX); Josh Winegarner, Sen. John Cornyn (TX); and, Anja Kelsey,Rep. Doug Ose (CA).

      Leadingthe tour were NCC staff members John Maguire and Robbie Minnich. Also travelingwith the group was Jim Travis, Director of Federal Government Affairs forMonsanto.


Past Week Illustrates Variable Nature of 2004 Crop; Area RemainsVulnerable To Weather

LUBBOCK, August 20, 2004                      By Shawn Wade

      Thelast ten days have brought opposite ends of the 2004 crop spectrum clearly intofocus as growers concentrate on the task of getting the 2004 crop to the gin.

      Onone hand, congratulations are in order for the first bale of 2004 High Plainscotton harvested and ginned in the region. According to Lamesa Cotton ClassingOffice Director Alan Wells the first bale was produced in Gaines County byLuther Cope and was ginned at Ocho Gin. The bale weighed in at 456 pounds.

      Onthe other end of the spectrum, producers in several northern counties experienceda selective, but still devastating, hail storm August 12 . It left oncepromising crops stripped clean to the stalk and easy work for the cropinsurance adjuster.

      Thestorms that tracked across northern portions of the High Plains region last Thursdaynight illustrated how a crop's prospects can change in the blink of an eye.

      Altogether,the area impacted by the storms will not significantly increase the region'sstill low abandonment rate in 2004. The losses will, however, significantlyaffect the growers who incurred them as well as local gins.

      Sofar, best estimate of the damage has about 25,000 acres affected, with some10,000 completely destroyed by the storms. Impacted acres were spread overseveral counties including Hale, Lamb, Swisher and Castro.

      Amajority of these were irrigated acres with good yield potential of 2-3 balesper acre. Some dryland acreage was also lost that was expected to producebetter than one bale per acre yields. Overall, the total production estimatedas lost to the storms is 25-30,000 bales.


High Plains Crop Needs Sept/Oct Help;

Weather Pattern Key To2004 Prospects

LUBBOCK, August 20, 2004                      By Shawn Wade

      Lookingat historical weather records and near-term weather forecasts shows just howprecarious the situation is on the High Plains. The past few years growers haveexperienced mostly dry, sunny days from August through October that ramped upheat unit accumulations and kept the crop moving at maximum velocity towardharvest.

      Thisyear is completely different. Some would say more like the norms the area saw adecade or more ago. The return of welcome and beneficial rains during thelatter part of July and early August provided much needed relief for drylandand irrigated producers alike.

      Thedownside has been that the weather systems also brought lower than normaltemperatures and, possibly of more significance, reduced or eliminated solarradiation in some instances for several days at a time.

      Thebest situation for the 2004 crop from today forward, and likely the only waythe crop will be able to match its final production level to the potential inthe field today, will be warm, sunny days through October.

      Unfortunatelyforecasts for the next few days continue to predict slightly below normaltemperatures. They also predict an increased chance for the development ofsevere storms that could include damaging hail and high winds.


PCG Heat Unit Calculator A Useful Grower Tool

LUBBOCK, August 20, 2004                      By Shawn Wade

      Growershave become increasingly interested in keeping track of how many heat units, orDD60's, they are accumulating on their crop in 2004. The DD60 measurement isoften used as an indicator of crop status since different crop stages usuallycorrespond to the accumulation of a narrow range of heat units.


      Forthe 2004 crop, growers can use the heat units accumulated to date and thegrowth stage of their crop to estimate how many heat units they need to finishout the crop.

      In aneffort to help them keep track, Plains Cotton Growers has put together aweb-based Heat Unit Calculator that allows growers to track how many heat unitsthey have accumulated from the date they planted the crop. It also shows howmany heat units were accumulated during the same time frame in 2003.

      TheHeat Unit Calculator can be found by following the links provided on the PCGHome Page at:

      Touse the calculator, growers simply select a weather station near their locationand choose an appropriate planting date. Growers can choose from 25 weatherstations located between Amarillo and Big Spring to estimate heat unitsaccumulations on their farm.


WTACI Announces 52nd Annual

Agricultural Chemicals Conference

LUBBOCK, August 20, 2004                By Roger Haldenby

      WestTexas Agricultural Chemicals Institute announces the 52nd Annual AgriculturalChemicals Conference will be held at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center, 15016th Street, Lubbock on September 7, 2004.

      Membershipof the Institute is open to any individual, business, or professional groupinterested in improving educational programs related to agricultural chemicalsand their safe use.

      Annualmembership is accomplished by being a paid registrant at the annual conference.Collected fees are used to pay expenses of the conference, promote programs ofinterest to the West Texas agricultural community and provide scholarship fundsfor agricultural students at designated universities.

      Since1983, one to three scholarships per year have been awarded to studentsattending any of six universities in the West Texas area (Abilene Christian,Angelo State, Lubbock Christian, Sul Ross State, Texas Tech and West TexasA&M).

      Scholarshipsare awarded through a scholarship committee appointed by the WTACI Board ofDirectors. Scholarship recipients are selected from applications on the basisof GPA, career goals, degree being sought, and financial need.

      Inaddition, the Institute makes periodic contributions to the WTACI EndowmentFund established at Texas Tech University. Although scholarships are not beingfunded from the endowment at this time, it is designed to eventually beself-sustaining through interest income. The Institute has also madecontributions to the A. W. Young Scholarship Fund at Texas Tech University.

      Youcan download the 2004 Conference program, that also contains the registrationform, from this link:

      Theconference is approved for continuing education credits by TDA, CCA, NMDA andOKDA.




Assessment Notices To Arrive Soon

ABILENE, August 19, 2004                 By Michael O'Connor

      Bollweevil eradication assessment notices were recently mailed to cotton producersin the all the eradication zones in Plains Cotton growers, Inc.'s 41-countyarea.

      Theassessments are based on information cotton producers provide the Farm ServiceAgency when they certify their crops. If growers find an error in theinformation on their billing, they will need to correct the information attheir local FSA office and forward the corrected information to the Foundation.Payment is due September 25, but a 2 percent discount is available to growerswho pay the full assessment by September 10.

      Growerswith failed acres are eligible to receive a credit on those acres completelydestroyed prior to the final certification date. Qualifying acres must remainfree of all hostable cotton until a killing freeze to receive the credit.

      Toaid growers who have been affected by adverse weather conditions, the TBWEF isoffering payment extension agreements for producers whose accounts are current.

      "Forthose having difficulty paying their assessment, help is available bycontacting the assessments department and arranging an extensionagreement," said Chief Financial Officer Tina Ballard.

      Producersentering into an extension agreement must make a 10 percent down payment, andthey will be charged a late fee of 1 percent per month until their accounts arepaid. This late fee begins on the date the signed agreement and down paymentare received by the Assessments Department. Producers who are delinquent inpayment and who do not have an extension agreement are subject to a late fee of1.5 percent per month.

      Producerswith extension agreements have 150 days to pay their accounts.

      Formore information contact the Assessments Department in Abilene at (866)672-2800.

      TheTexas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation is a nonprofit, grower-initiated andfunded organization dedicated to eliminating the cotton boll weevil from thestate in the most cost effective and environmentally responsible manner



High Plains Ag Expo

August 24, 25, 26

Dumas, Texas


For more information go to: