Crop Production Report Sets Optimistic Goal

Friday, August 15, 2008                             By Shawn Wade

      USDA's release of the August Crop Production report has probably created more questions than it answered for crop watchers across the High Plains region.

      Projecting a healthy harvest of 3.71 million bales from an estimated 2.1 million harvestable acres USDA's forecast would require the area to average an incredible 830 pounds per harvested acre. That would be just 22 pounds short of the region's top recorded average yield of 852 pounds set by the overachieving 2007 crop which grew to eclipse the 5.3 million bale mark after USDA initially estimated it at 3.95 million bales in August 2007.

      It certainly seems that the end of the 2008 growing season could turn out very similar weather-wise to the near-perfect August thru October weather pattern of 2007. Unfortunately there are a couple of key differences that will significantly alter the final outcome in 2008.

      The main difference between 2007 and 2008 heading into the last half of the growing season, aside from the 1 million acres that have already been abandoned, is that there is generally not much subsoil moisture left in the tank for dryland acres to draw on. This is the polar opposite of the situation experienced at the end of the 2007 growing season, when abundant early season rains carried the crop and a predominantly dry, sunny weather pattern brought the crop to a picture-perfect close.

      An exact repeat of 2007 would provide a much different result since the remaining 2008 dryland crop will need additional timely rainfall over the next few weeks to maximize yields.

      A better comparison, perhaps, to the 2008 situation can be found in the 2006 growing season when dry conditions prompted a near identical loss of just over 1 million dryland acres.

      In 2006 it was the irrigated crop that came to the rescue and pushed the area over the 4 million bale mark. The 800,000 acres of dryland cotton harvested that year contributed only 450,000 or so bales to the overall crop tally and averaged just over half a bale per acre. The other 3.5 million bales came from 1.94 million acres of irrigated cotton that averaged just under 900 pounds per harvested acre.

      Looking at these two crops side-by-side shows the 2008 dryland crop has about 100,000 or so more acres available for harvest to go along with a slightly more optimistic yield outlook.

      For arguments sake let's assume that this year's dryland gets all the help it needs and averages a more than respectable 480 pounds per harvested acre. This would produce a dryland crop of approximately 900,000 bales and place the remainder of 2008's bale production on the shoulders of the area's irrigated acres.

      According to the August 2008 Crop Report yield prospects in the predominately irrigated 1-N production region are just over 1,000 pounds per acre, a little more than 100 pounds per acre better than was achieved by the 2006 irrigated crop. The big difference, though, is in the total number of acres available for harvest this year compared to what was harvested in 2006. Available irrigated acreage is really where the rubber meets the road in terms of the 2008 crop's overall production potential.

      Assuming the area achieves USDA's estimated yield of 1,000 pounds per irrigated acre, the High Plains only has about 1.2 million irrigated acres available to harvest. Doing the math provides an estimated 2.4 million bales of irrigated production.

      Adding the irrigated bales to an optimistic bale-an-acre dryland crop would project a High Plains crop of only 3.3 million bales, 400,000 bales less than USDA's August forecast.

      Knowing how fortunes can change on the High Plains it is still too early to definitively say what the 2008 crop will produce. The next few weeks will be key, one way or another, as the High Plains heads toward another hard to predict finish.

2008 WTACI Conference Set For Sept. 10

Friday, August 15, 2008                             By Shawn Wade

      The 56th Annual Agricultural Chemicals Conference, organized by West Texas Agricultural Chemicals Institute, has been scheduled for Wednesday, September 10, 2008 and features a well-rounded schedule of speakers.

      The conference will take place at the Reese Technology Conference Center located at 9801 Reese Boulevard North (West 4th Street) Lubbock, Texas. A map to the Reese Technology Conference Center can be found online at:

      The conference will begin with registration at 7:00 a.m. The program is set to start at 7:50 a.m. Presentations and panel discussions will cover a broad range of topics such as wind energy and water resource management; soil fertility, irrigation and insect management; and an over view of new technology from DuPont Crop Protection and Bayer CropScience.

      A complete conference agenda can be downloaded from in PDF format.

      Presenters at this year's conference include: Jim Conkwright, Manager, High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1, Lubbock; Michael Hicks, Partner, Mullin, Hoard, and Brown LLP, Lubbock; Eric Castner, Field Development Representative, DuPont Crop Protection, Weatherford; Randy Rivera, Director of Worker Protection and Applicator Certification and Training Program, Texas Department of Agriculture, Austin; and, Linda Trolinder-Wright, Cotton Research and Development Manager, Bayer CropScience, Lubbock.

      On the program from the Texas AgriLife Extension Service are Todd Baughman, Extension Agronomist, Vernon; Brent Bean, Extension Agronomist, Amarillo; Ken Cearley, Extension Program Specialist II, Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries with Texas AgriLife Extension Service, West Texas A&M University, Canyon; David Kerns, Extension Entomologist, Lubbock; Jason Woodward, Extension Plant Pathologist, Lubbock. Rounding out the program from Texas AgriLife Research are Kevin Bronson, Soil Fertility Research, Lubbock and, Wayne Keeling, Systems Agronomist, Lubbock. Continued on page 2

      Conference planners are encouraging attendees to take advantage of the new on-line registration process, which can be accessed at:

      The pre-registration fee for this year's conference is $75 for registrations completed on-line or postmarked before September 10. The Day-Of-Conference registration fee for registrations postmarked or completed on-line after September 10 is $95.00 and credit cards will be accepted.

      The conference has been approved for 5 CEUs by TDA, 6.5 CCA CEUs, 5 CEUs by the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, and 4 CEUs by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.

You Can Help Cotton Incorporated By
Taking The "Natural Resource Survey"

      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!

2008 County Crop Tours and Field Days

      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:

Monsanto/D&PL Field Days


September 24 – Producer

September 25 – Consultant

Bayer CropScience/Fibermax Field Days

September 30

October 2