Friday, August 8, 2008                         By Shawn Wade

      Next week's USDA Crop Production Report and World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates will begin the process of answering many of the lingering questions the cotton industry has about the 2008 High Plains and U.S. cotton crops.

      On the Texas High Plains the "drive-by" opinion on the two million or so acres of cotton still standing, acres which have survived a very difficult first half to the growing season, is that the 2008 crop will fall far short of the record production levels seen the past 3-4 years. Many observers feel the area will have to get a lot of help to even reach the 3 million bale mark.

      Understanding that it's still early August it is important to note that the largely intact 2008 High Plains irrigated crop still has an opportunity to improve. It is equally important to note that the situation, especially for non-irrigated acres, could just as easily get worse, which leaves the crop uncomfortably stuck between the proverbial "rock and a hard place."

      Until the first official survey-based production estimate is released August 12 the best available information comes from crop reports from producers, merchants and extension personnel who have been out looking at the crop.

      Based on that input, it appears growers in the High Plains region planted approximately 3.2 million acres of cotton this year, matching the region's planted acreage in 2007. Statewide, Texas plantings appear to be right in line with the June USDA Planted Acreage report of 4.7 million acres.

      Abandonment has been the big story on the High Plains with an estimated 1.1 million of the region's 3.2 million cotton acres lost thus far. Losses have been primarily from drought related causes, but hail and wind have also been significant contributors, especially in irrigated cotton. Breaking down the losses shows that some 200,000 acres of irrigated cotton have been destroyed along with just over 900,000 dryland acres.

      How these figures will compare to the upcoming USDA Crop Production report's acreage levels and survey-based estimate is hard to gauge. With very little actual yield to evaluate at this stage, and so much potential for improvement or decline in the crop, it is clear that the August 12 cotton estimate could be among the toughest forecasts USDA makes this growing season.


      With the Labor Day weekend only a few short weeks away, the August/September calendar is rapidly filling up with County Crop Tours and Industry Field Day events.

      The table below contains a partial listing of the events already scheduled. Growers interested in attending any of these Texas AgriLife Extension events should contact the appropriate County Extension office to request additional details.

      For more information about the industry Field Days listed below contact your local sales representative or dealer. Additional details will be included in "Cotton News" as they become available.

      If you have knowledge of information that needs to be added or corrected regarding any of the events already listed or know of a date you would like to have added to this calendar please contact Shawn Wade at 806-792-4904.

2008 High Plains Event Calendar



Dawson Co. Crop Tour

August 20

Carson/Gray Co. Crop tour

August 25

Bailey Co. Tour

August 26

Lubbock Co. Crop Tour

August 27

Gaines Co. Crop Tour

September 2

Castro Co. Ag Tour

September 3

Moore/Carson Co. Crop Tour

September 4

Yoakum Co. Crop Tour

September 9



Industry Field Days:


West Texas Agricultural Chemicals Institute Conf., Reese Technology Center, Lubbock

September 10 - For more information and to register on-line go to:


Producer Field Day

September 24



      Go to: , read the letter, and then click on the "NEXT" button at the bottom of the page to take the survey. Your participation will help identify the great strides cotton farmers have made in production efficiency and environmental stewardship.

      With your help, Cotton Incorporated will use the summarized survey data to promote U.S. cotton, direct future research and rebut the claims of cotton's environmental critics. They want to show to the global textile industry, brands, retailers and even consumers the true extent of cotton's limited impact on the environment.

      The input you provide will be anonymous so you can be comfortable in truthfully answering the questions, but on completion of the survey you have the opportunity to receive a 100% cotton T-Shirt as thanks for your help. The name and address you give for sending the 100% cotton T-Shirt WILL NOT be associated with your survey information.

      It's essential that you, as a cotton producer, take part in this 20-minute anonymous online Natural Resource Survey . Only you, as a cotton producer, can provide the information that needs to be gathered.

      So please, go to: , read the letter, and then click on the "NEXT" button to take the survey.

      And, don't forget the free 100% cotton T-Shirt!