High Plains Cotton Nearly 60 Percent Planted

Friday, May 26, 2006                                  By Shawn Wade

      Even though rain showers have beena regular visitor to the area the past few weeks they have generally been a hitor miss proposition for High Plains cotton producers in 2006.

      Despitethe challenges posed by generally dry soil conditions cotton producers havemade good progress in planting the crop. The area's usual pattern of plantingirrigated crops first and dryland acreage second is holding true to form asproducers wait as long as possible for a planting rain to get their drylandcrops off to the best possible start.

      Unfortunately,planting rains haven't fallen yet in many dryland areas. If the Memorial Dayweekend fails to provide the necessary rainfall, dryland growers will begin dryplanting their acres and hope that moisture to germinate the crop arrives soonthereafter.

      Sincethe majority of the High Plains' non-irrigated acres exist in counties withfederal crop insurance final planting dates of June 5 or June 10, Memorial Dayis often the date many producers will start dry planting cotton in order tomeet federal crop insurance planting deadlines.

      Headinginto Memorial Day the High Plains is estimated to be around 55-60 percentplanted. The majority of the unplanted acres are non-irrigated and locatedsouth of Lubbock.

      Planted crops appearto be faring well and warm daytime temperatures that have taken hold across thearea are helping keep things headed in the right direction.

Federal Crop Insurance Changes Could Come
Into Play Should Dry Conditions Persist

Friday, May 26, 2006                                  By Shawn Wade

      Intent on establishing their 2006cotton acres producers across the High Plains are keeping a watchful eye on thesky and near-term weather forecasts.

      What they want to see most aregathering clouds and raindrops, and a forecast that includes favorableconditions for spawning the rainfall they need to get a crop up and going.

      Unfortunately, there is just asgood a chance that the rainfall they need will not arrive in time. If thatturns out to be the case, growers need to remember that the USDA RiskManagement Agency has shortened the Federal Crop Insurance program's LatePlanting Period for cotton from 15 days to 8 days in 2006.

      The change only affects Texas HighPlains cotton counties with final planting dates of May 31, June 5 and June 10and a few counties in eastern New Mexico. This gives producers the ability torequest appraisals for drought affected acreage with non-emerged seedimmediately following the end of the crop insurance program's 8-day DeferredAppraisal Period.

      Plains Cotton Growers officials,who have been working with USDA Risk Management Agency personnel on thedeferred appraisal issue for several years, note that the combination of the8-day Late Planting Period and the Deferred Appraisal Period means High Plainscotton growers have to wait 16 days after their Final Planting date beforerequesting an appraisal based on the non-emergence of seed planted on or beforethe Final Planting Date.

      "The month of June is always a makeor break time of year for farmers on the High Plains," says PCG Executive VicePresident Steve Verett. "Mid-June is the time that producers must shift gearsand start thinking about alternatives if their cotton doesn't receive the rainit needs to get established. The shortened 2006 late planting period will makea major difference for producers in this situation and, when conditions permit,allow them the opportunity to get a secondary crop established in a timelyfashion."

      Texascounties with shortened 2006 Cotton Late Planting Periods include: Andrews,Armstrong, Bailey, Borden, Briscoe, Carson, Castro, Cochran, Collingsworth,Crosby, Dawson, Deaf Smith, Dickens, Donley, Floyd, Gaines, Garza, Glasscock,Gray, Hale, Hansford, Hartley, Hockley, Howard, Hutchinson, Irion, Lamb,Lubbock, Lynn, Martin, Midland, Moore, Ochiltree, Parmer, Potter, Randall,Reagan, Sherman, Swisher, Terry, Upton, Wheeler, Yoakum. New Mexico countiesincluded in the change are Chaves, Curry, Eddy, Lea, and Roosevelt.

Avondale Mills: America's Oldest Surviving Textile
Manufacturer Anticipates Shutdown

Friday, May 26, 2006                                  By Shawn Wade

      Withroots dating back to 1845, Georgia-based Avondale Mills, Inc. was among America'ssuccessful textile manufacturing firms for 150 years. Unfortunately, eventsbeyond its control over the past ten years have combined to create a situationfrom which the 160 year-old company will not recover.

      Havingbeen successful in the past, Avondale was trying hard to find a way to weatherthe drastic changes that have recently overtaken the worldwide textilemarketplace.

      G.Stephen Felker, Sr., Avondale's chairman, president and chief executiveofficer, says the decision to close was brought about by the "trade practicesof foreign countries that create unfair advantages for their textile industries"and effects of a chlorine gas spill that occurred next to one of the company'splants in Graniteville, South Carolina.

      Ironically,the day after Avondale's announcement the company released informationindicating it had reached a $215 Million settlement with its insurance companyas a result of the Graniteville train derailment.

      Avondalehas already notified its employees that it intends to close or sell all itsplants in Alabama and two other states in a move that could lead to the loss ofaround 4,000 jobs.

      Thisloss of approximately 4,000 Avondale jobs will add to the 423,000 jobs alreadylost in the textile-manufacturing sector since 2001.