Uniform Module Size One Way Growers Can
Help Their Gin Keep Costs Down In 2005

Friday, October 28, 2005                           By Shawn Wade

      Concentrating on consistency,especially in the module construction phase of cotton harvest operations, isturning out to be one of the key areas for growers and ginners to keep costsdown in 2005.

      To help spread the word andfocus grower attention on the importance of constructing uniformly sizedmodules, Plains Cotton Growers staff has helped develop and distribute a posterabout the importance of uniform module size and encourages growers to constructmodules that contain at least 10-12 bales.

      The poster was sent to cottongins throughout the High Plains region. Any gin that has not received a copy ofthe poster or who would like to obtain additional copies should contact PlainsCotton Growers.

      Anyone who would like todownload and print their own copies can find the poster on the PCG website (www.plainscotton.org). Just click the link on PCG's HomePage to find both Tabloid (11x17) and Legal (8.5x14) size versions of theposter in Portable Document File (PDF) format. The PDF files can be downloadedand printed out in either color or grayscale.

      Following the 2004-ginningseason many High Plains ginners realized that while a majority of growers doconstruct 10-12 bale modules, some consistently produce modules that hold only8-9 bales.

      Growers that make undersized8-9 bale modules require significantly more trips to the field to transport thesame amount of cotton to the gin as a producer that averages 10-12 bales perload.

      With diesel prices stillhovering above $3 per gallon, cotton producers and their ginners are scramblingto find every possible way to increase efficiency and save money during the2005 harvest season.

      Unfortunately for growersthere's not much that can be done to reduce daily fuel consumption rates duringharvesting operations. For ginners, the options aren't much better as theirability to achieve savings is also keyed on keeping vehicles and equipment movingas efficiently as possible.

      Constructing and haulinguniformly sized modules that average at least 10-12 bales per load cansignificantly cut the amount gins have to spend on module hauling and will alsoprevent the need for having to charge extra to bring in undersized modules.

      To illustrate just how muchdifference module size can make, an 80,000-bale gin whose customers averaged 11bales per module would haul approximately 7,250 modules during the course ofthe ginning season. If that average dropped to 9 bales per module the gin wouldincrease the number of loads it must transfer by nearly 25 percent to justunder 8,900.

      It doesn't take amathematician to see that any gin, regardless of size, whose customers take thetime to construct uniform 10-12 bale modules can save a significant amount ontheir overall ginning costs and that the grower will ultimately see the benefitthrough a lower overall cost of ginning in 2005.



FSA Announces 1st CC Advance for 2005-crop;
Payments Started Going Out Early Last Week

Friday, October 28, 2005                           By Shawn Wade

      The official announcementthat the first 2005 Counter-cyclical Program payment was on its way wasn't muchof a surprise to most High Plains cotton producers. For most, the cat was outof the bag last week when a majority of USDA's Farm Service Agency countyoffices began processing the payments.

      State and County FSA officesreceived their instructions on the payment rates on October 18, 2005 via FSAnotice DCP-142 approved by FSA Deputy Administrator John Johnson.

      Included in the notice werethe first Counter-cyclical Program payment rates for Corn, Grain Sorghum,Peanuts, Upland Cotton, Rice and Barley. Advance Counter-cyclical payments aremade available to growers after the end of the crop year in October andFebruary.

      The Upland Cotton paymentrate announced October 18 was 4.81 cents per pound, 35 percent of the 13.73cent per pound maximum payment rate estimated by FSA for purposes of settingthe first 2005-crop advance CC payment rate..

      The first advance CC paymentis limited to 35 percent of the estimated total CC payment rate as determinedby FSA. By law, county FSA offices are required to issue all 2005 first advanceCC payments on or before October 31, 2005 to growers who elected to receive thepayments when they enrolled in the 2005-crop Direct and Counter-cyclicalPayment Program (DCP).

      First Advance CC paymentrates included in the FSA announcement were as follows: Corn, $0.14 per bushel;Grain Sorghum, $0.0945 per bushel; Peanuts, $0.0182 per pound; Barley, $0.0525per bushel; and, Rice, $0.001925 per pound.


TCECotton Profitability Workshops Scheduled

Friday, October 28, 2005                           By Shawn Wade

      Cotton producers andlandowners can get a leg up on planning their management strategies for 2006 ata cotton profitability workshop sponsored by Texas Cooperative Extension November 3.

     The program will be designed totake a long, hard look at the impacts of higher 2006 production expenses, andhow this situation may affect operating strategies next year. Because they willhave to face higher energy costs for irrigation, fertilizer, fuel and ginning,the workshop will also examine rental arrangements, how energy prices affectthem and include discussion on how they might need to be adjusted.

      The workshop is slated forNovember 3, from 7 - 10 a.m. at the Floyd County Unity Center in Muncy. TheUnity Center is located between Lockney and Floydada at the intersection ofHighway 70 and FM 786.

     Three subsequent workshops areslated for December 20 in Plainview, February 22, 2006 in Muleshoe, and March23, 2006 in Plains.

      Jeff Pate and Jay Yates,Extension risk management specialists based at Lubbock, will provide an outlookfor fuel, fertilizer, other farm inputs, and crop prices for 2006. They willalso discuss farm program payments and possible production budgets forirrigated cotton.

      Jackie Smith, Extensioneconomist, will examine crop share rental arrangements, focusing on how tenantsand landlords can share the risk and total investment in an equitableagreement, and cash leases.

      There is no charge toattend. For more information contact Smith at (806) 746-6101, or the Extensionoffice in Floyd County at (806) 983-4912.