With April Showers Looming, 2004Growing
Season Finally Winding Down

Friday, April 15, 2005                 By Shawn Wade

   It isn't a normal year on the Texas HighPlains unless something out of the ordinary happens. The 2004 growing seasoncertainly took that sentiment to heart and produced a crop that will linger inthe memories of the High Plains cotton industry for years.

   Now, 4.73 million running bales later, itappears the history books can all be rewritten and area producers and gins willhave a new benchmark for judging future success.

   High Plains cotton producers, when everythingis finally tallied and county estimates published, are expected have producedthe equivalent of 4.8-4.9 million 480 pound net weight bales in the area servedby the Lubbock and Lamesa USDA Classing Offices.

   Once the National Agricultural StatisticsService releases county estimates, a final tally of total production in PCG's41 county service area will be possible.

   The season did not get off to the fast startmany would normally ascribe to a record-breaking season, but things quicklyturned around as timely rainfall, often accompanied by less than idealtemperatures, fed what would become a record 2004 crop.

   Cool temperatures affected a large part ofthe crop to the point that quality, particularly Micronaire, fell below normallevels. Some areas were so significantly impacted that growers were hit withboth yield and quality drops that strained pocketbooks.

   On the flip side, the plentiful rain pusheddryland production in southern areas to record levels in some places and wellabove normal expectations just about everywhere else.

   Getting the crop out of the field, though,proved to be a challenge at times with weather related interruptions slowingprogress early. After that the next major hurdle turned out to be the shearvolume of cotton produced. Many producers saw harvested cotton wait weeks andeven months before ginning.

   Many gins dealt with more cotton than theyhad ever processed before. While it is unclear whether or not a record for themost cotton ever ginned by a single gin plant can be confirmed, one High Plainsgin, United Cotton Growers in Hockley County, may have a pretty good claim forsuch a record after processing 128,227 bales on its plant in 2004.

   United achieved an overall 2004 total of152,449 bales, including cotton processed by nearby gins subcontracted toshorten the wait time for United customers.

   Quality reports from the Lubbock and LamesaClassing offices show that over the season the High Plains produced a crop withan average Staple length of 34, average Micronaire of 3.6, and an averageStrength of 28 grams/tex. The predominant Color grade was a 31 at Lamesa and 41at Lubbock.

   As a testament to the challenges that facedgrowers throughout the harvest season over fifty percent of the bales classedat the Lubbock Classing office and almost 44 percent of the cotton graded atthe Lamesa Classing office were discounted for bark.


Average Price Received ThroughFebruary;
AWP Transition Begins April 21

Friday, April 15, 2005                 By Shawn Wade

   Cumulative Upland cottonmarketings increased by 1.847 million bales during the month of February andbrought total 2004-crop marketings up to 11.949 million bales.

   Through the first seven months ofthe 2004-crop marketing year, the U.S. has already eclipsed the 11.6 millionbales reported as marketed in all of 2003. Average prices reported for themonth of February 2005 were 39 cents per pound.

   Based on these numbers the 2004Upland Cotton Weighted Average Price calculated through February 2005 droppedto 42.93 cents per pound. So far the calculated 2004 Weighted Average Pricecontinues to track below the 52-cent threshold where Counter-cyclical paymentrates begin to drop.

   The 2004 Counter-cyclical paymentrate authorized under the 2002 Farm Bill will be based on the 12-month WeightedAverage Price Received by growers. For cotton the 12-month Weighted AveragePrice will reflect price and marketings for the 2004 marketing year. The 2004cotton marketing year began on August 1, 2004 and ends July 31, 2005.

   The following table shows theaverage price received each month by farmers and the calculated weightedaverage price based on estimated cumulative marketings and prices reported bythe National Ag Statistics Service through February 2005.


Monthly Average Price Receivedfor

2004-crop Upland Cotton ThroughFebruary 2005

(Weighted by Marketings)





(000's of Running bales)















































Source:National Agricultural Statistics Service; * = preliminary



Transition Period ForAWP Calculation Begins

   The announcement of the Adjusted Word Pricefor the week ending April 21 will be the first in a 6-week period that willtransition the AWP calculation between the current and forward Cotlook"A" Index quotes. The 6-week blending process is used to transitionthe AWP from old crop to new crop prices.

   For the weeks ending April 21 and April 28,the formula is 2 times the current quote plus the forward quote divided by 3.For the weeks ending May 5 and May 12, the formula is the current quote plusthe forward quote divided by 2. For the weeks ending May 19 and May 26, theformula is the current quote plus 2 times the forward quote divided by 3. Forthe week ending June 2 and thereafter until the end of the '04-05 crop year,the forward "A" will be used exclusively in calculating the AWP.

   This week's AWP and Step 2 certificate rates,effective from Friday, April 15, 2005, through Thursday, April 21, 2005, are asfollows:



NE Price



Avg. U.S. spot market location


SLM 1-1/16 inch cotton


Avg. U.S. location


Sum of Adjustments




Loan Deficiency Payment Rate


User Marketing Cert. Rate (Step 2)



Region's Active Boll Weevil Eradication Zones
Announce 2005 Assessment Rates

Friday, April 15, 2005                 By Shawn Wade

   The Texas Department of Agriculture hasannounced the 2005 assessment rate, due date and discount date for six of theseven active boll weevil eradication programs in the High Plains region.

   The TDA announced assessment rates apply tothe following boll weevil eradication zones: St. Lawrence (Glasscock, Reagan, Upton andpart of Midland); Permian Basin (Dawson, Martin, Howard, Ector and parts of Borden andMidland); Western High Plains (Yoakum, Gaines, Andrews and parts of Terry and Lynn); SouthernHigh Plains(Cochran, Hockley, Lubbock and parts of Crosby, Dickens, Garza, Lynn and Terry);Northern High Plains (Hale, Swisher and parts of Armstrong, Briscoe, Floyd and Randall); NorthwestPlains (DeafSmith, Parmer, Castro, Bailey, Lamb and parts of Randall); Panhandle (Carson, Dallam, Hansford,Hartley, Hemphill, Hutchinson, Lipscomb, Moore, Ochiltree, Oldham, Potter,Roberts and Sherman).

   Assessment rates for the Northern High Plainszone have been approved, but not announced by the Texas Department ofAgriculture at this time.

   Each of the announced 2005 assessment rateswere set at the rate approved by growers in the original referendumsestablishing those zones.

   Assessment notices will be mailed by August19, 2005 and payment is due September 30. Growers who pay by September 15 areeligible to receive a 2 percent discount on their 2005 assessment.

   Assessments are based on the acreagescertified to the USDA Farm Service Agency. In the St. Lawrence zone all acres planted to cotton will be assessed and no creditwill provided for failed acres. This decision is a change from the previousyear and was recommended by the St. Lawrence zone's grower steering committee.

   In other zones growers with failed acres areeligible to receive a credit on those acres destroyed before the finalcertification date. Qualifying failed acres must remain free of all hostablecotton until a killing freeze to receive the credit.

   The Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundationis a nonprofit, grower-initiated and funded organization dedicated toeliminating the cotton boll weevil from the state in the most cost-effectiveand environmentally responsible manner possible.


2005 Texas Boll WeevilEradication
Program Assessment Rates High Plains Zones


Assessment Rates per Land Acre




St. Lawrence*



Permian Basin



Western High Plains



Southern High Plains



Northern High Plains*



Northwest Plains






* NorthernHigh Plains rates set, but not yet announced;
St. Lawrence assessment rate is $2 per dryland acre and $6 per land acreIrrigated.