03/04 Disaster Update; First Day of Fall Accompanied By Cool/Wet Weather

LUBBOCK, September 24, 2004                By Shawn Wade

      Withlittle visible movement occurring on the FY2005 Homeland SecurityAppropriations bill that passed the Senate late last week, agriculture's focuscontinues to center on what has unexpectedly become a much anticipatedappropriations bill.

      TheSenate bill included a couple of welcome late additions in the form ofemergency hurricane and agriculture disaster relief. The agriculture disasterportion of the bill is estimated to provide some $3 billion for weather relatedlosses endured by farmers in 2003 or 2004.

      Thatis why encouraging completion of the Homeland Security spending bill is at thetop of the list for cotton and other commodities that endured crop losses dueto drought in some areas and hail and similar severe weather in others.

      PlainsCotton Growers officers and Executive Vice President Steve Verett will bediscussing the importance of the disaster package during a round ofappointments in Washington, DC September 28-29.

      Thelatest news from Washington indicates that some technical issues need to beaddressed before the bill can go to conference.

      ForTexas High Plains producers the good news was the Senate's apparent recognitionthat significant crop damage occurred in 2003 as well as 2004. Over one millionacres of cotton were lost in 2003 on the Texas High Plains alone. The vastmajority of the losses were caused by hailstorms that crisscrossed the regionearly in the growing season.

      Onthe other end of the spectrum is the 2004 crop. With the arrival of Fall on theTexas High Plains, the big unknown is if the weather will continue tocooperate. A few more weeks of warm, sunny days would be just what many of themneed to finish out the crop.

      Unfortunately,Fall's arrival hasn't been exactly what many had hoped for going into the lastweek of September. Instead of a continuation of the near perfect weather thatdominated the months first three weeks, the last ten days of September willapparently feature just the opposite.

      Thisweek the area has seen the arrival of a cool front that will hold downtemperatures and rain. For many areas the rain that has fallen over the pastfew days will mostly be viewed as a welcome addition to a crop that wasbeginning to show some signs of moisture stress.

      Whatis less welcome is the forecast over the next 7-8 days that projects daytimehighs only reaching the middle to upper 70s. Nighttime lows are also projectedto fall to the lower 40s in northern counties and into the 50s in countiessouth of Lubbock.

      Withmore and more cotton reaching a point where harvest aid applications areimminent, the overall effect of the cool-down will be hard to judge. No matterwhat the weather brings, a gradual acceleration of both harvest aidapplications and harvesting activity will occur in the next few weeks.

      Inmany fields the crop is essentially made and the next step is plant preparationand harvest. Slow to develop cotton in northern areas and all of the area'slate-planted cotton needs more time, heat and sunshine to realize itspotential.

      Unfortunately,nobody knows what October will bring. Regardless of the crop situation, HighPlains producers are all looking for the same thing. Warm, open weatherprovides the best scenario for both ends of the High Plains cotton spectrum.


FSA Makes Plans for Announcement of

First Partial 2004 CC Payment

LUBBOCK, September 24, 2004                By Shawn Wade

      TheUnited States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency has finalized thetimetable for announcement of the first partial 2004-crop Counter-cyclicalpayment.

      Theannouncement will utilize the same approach and timing as the 2003 CC program.What makes things a little different in 2004 is that the first partial 2004payment rate announcement will likely occur within days, and possibly evenhours, of the announcement of the final 2003 CC payment rate.

      Accordingto FSA the 2004 advance payment rate will be announced shortly afterpublication of the October 12 World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimatereport.

      FSAofficials note that by using the price projections generated using the Octobersupply and demand figures, the first 2004 advance payment rate will be based onthe most accurate information available.


Calendar of Events

      Septemberis a busy month across the High Plains as growers are given the opportunity toparticipate in a wide variety of Texas Cooperative Extension and industry croptours. In an effort to help producers plan to attend these tours, a list ofcounty crop tours will be included as soon as this information becomesavailable.



Event \ Location \ Directions:


Sept. 27

Harvest Aid Meeting

Location: Buster's Gin, Ropesville


9:00 a

Sept. 28

Crosby Co. Crop Tour

Location: TBA

Call Crosby Co. Extension Office



Sept. 29

AFD Seed Field Day 2004

Location: 1 mile south of intersection of FM 1585 and County Road 2500 (MLK Blvd). From Hwy 87 go 1.5 miles east on FM 1585 to County Road 2500 (MLK Blvd) and turn south 1 mile.

10:00 a -2:00 p

Sept. 30

Stoneville Field Day

Location: Stoneville Research Station

Directions: 3.2 miles East of Idalou on US HWY 82/82 (next to Apple Country Orchard)

9:00 a 2:00 p