High Plains Readies For 2008 Cotton Harvest;
Crop Size Remains An Unsolved Mystery

Friday, September 26, 2007                      By Shawn Wade

      While not the idyllic September described in this newsletter a year ago, a favorable forecast and a solid two weeks of sunshine and moderate temperatures have certainly improved the outlook for the 2008 High Plains cotton crop.

      Two weeks ago the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service released its September Crop Production estimates. In that report projections for Texas crop reporting districts 1-N and 1-S brought a mixed reaction from both producers and allied industry members.

      Having just experienced a less than stellar start to the month of September, most people decided to take a wait and see approach knowing that how the last three weeks of the month played out would be the key to the crops ultimate fate.

      Their patience has been rewarded so far. The area has enjoyed two good weeks of sunshine and moderate temperatures that have certainly helped the crop inch closer to the USDA forecast.

      A near-term weather forecast indicating another week of the same weather means High Plains growers are finally able to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Each passing day improves the odds that earlier planted irrigated cotton will get the weather needed to overcome a slow start and avoid significant maturity problems. That weather will also help late dryland fields add to the region's bale total.

      Unfortunately, there are still many growers that do not yet have the optimism of the growers referenced above. The reason is that a fairly large percentage of the area's cotton acres are still running behind schedule due to conditions during the planting period.

      Many acres were either planted late, as in the case of most non-irrigated fields that contended with dry conditions in the early season, or replanted late following stand damage from hail, wind or other causes.

      Dryland cotton, which is among the latest of all 2008 acreage, still has a way to go and will need every last day to get where USDA thinks it could end up. Producers will be the first to tell you that they hope USDA's estimate is right on target because they will need every pound of cotton they can produce to through this tough and expensive production season.

      The good news, however, is that harvest aid treatments have begun to go out on some of the area's early-planted irrigated cotton and harvest could be started in some areas around the time the October crop report is released in two weeks.

      Regardless of the cause, these late fields still have some additional ground to make up before the yield potential envisioned in the USDA reports can be realized.

      At the end of the day, it appears that the High Plains has received exactly the kind of weather it needs to close in on the USDA estimate.

      Whether it will be able to climb all the way up to the lofty 3.61 million bale bar put up by USDA remains an unsolved mystery that may keep the audience on the edge of the seat until the very end.

      High Plains cotton veterans know that the weather always has the last word and it is advisable to hold on to that wait and see attitude for as long as possible. Just like the clouds, rain and cool temperatures of early September stepped aside to give just what the doctor ordered to the crop through today, that weather pattern could be just as quickly replaced with something less favorable still heading into October and harvest.

House Bill Would Waive Payment Prohibition
on Farms with less than 10 acres Base

Friday, September 26, 2008                      By Shawn Wade

      Noting what it called USDA's overly strict interpretation of a section in the 2008 Farm Bill designed to prevent non-farmers with less than 10 acres of crop base from receiving farm program payments under the 2008 Farm Bill, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 6849 by voice vote on Wednesday, September 24.

      H.R. 6849 waives the provision of the 2008 Farm Bill that prohibits payment to farms with fewer that 10 base acres for the 2008 and 2009 crop years and also identifies $20 million in funding off-sets to pay for the change.

      House Agriculture Committee leaders laid blame for needing the bill squarely on what they described as USDA's "narrow interpretation" of the 10-base-acre provision. At the heart of the issue is USDA's recent decision that it would not allow farmers whose operations contain multiple small tracts of land with fewer than 10 acres of base to be aggregated and therefore remain eligible for farm program payments.

      House leaders noted that USDA's stance runs counter to the intent of Congress, which they maintain was clearly stated in the Manager's Report that accompanied the bill to USDA. They add that H.R. 6849 is an example of their resolve to ensure that the intent of Congress is fulfilled during the implementation process for the 2008 Farm bill.

      The Senate is said to be considering a similar provision.

Cotton Inc. Survey Open Through October 31;
Producers Encouraged To Participate

      U.S. cotton producers are urged to complete this questionnaire, which will provide a gauge on the strides that producers have made in production efficiency and help Cotton Incorporated promote U.S. cotton and direct its future research. The online survey is open through October 31, is anonymous and requires about 20-25 minutes to complete.


Want the facts about the U.S. farm policy. Get what you need at:


Revised 2008 High Plains/Northern Rolling Plains Harvest Aid Guide Now Available

      The 2008 crop is getting nearer the finish line and High Plains cotton producers are already beginning to think about their harvest aid regimens.

      The best place for growers to go for sound advice in the harvest aid arena is the newly updated 2008 Harvest Aid Guide published by Dr. Randy Boman, Cotton Agronomist, Texas AgriLife Extension.

      Dr. Boman has notified us that the revised 2008 Harvest Aid Guide is now available on the Lubbock TAMU Research and Extension Center website. The revised 2008 Harvest Aid Guide can be found at:



2008 County Crop Tours and Field Days

      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.

      If you have 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



Hockley Co. Tour

October 1, contact Hockley County Extension Office for more information

Mitchell Co. Crop Tour

October 2

Borden/Scurry Co. Crop Tour

October 9



Industry Field Days:


Bayer CropScience/Fibermax Field Days

September 30 & October 2 – 9:30 a.m.

Meet @ Texas Tech University Nat'l Ranching Heritage Center, 3121 4th St., Lubbock, Texas




NRCS To Hold 2009 EQIP PDG/LWG Meetings

      Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts invite the public, and any agencies with interest, to participate in the agency's 2009 Local Work Group (LWG) meetings.

      The purpose of the LWG's is to provide members of the community a forum for submitting recommendations on local issues and county based funding that can be addressed through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

      Local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) conduct LWG meetings in partnership with USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

      Each county in Texas holds the public meetings annually and meeting information will soon be posted on the Texas NRCS website (www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov). A partial list of LWG meetings already scheduled for the High Plains and South Plains regions is included in the table below.

2009 EQIP LWG Meeting
Dates, Times and Locations

as of 09/19/08





LWG Mtg Date:




9:30 a.m.


Quanah Community Center,
State HWY 104 & FM 2568


9:00 a.m.


Moore County Annex East 1st. St., Dumas, Tx.


9:00 a.m.


Happy State Bank, 100 N. Main. St., Stratford, Tx


9:00 a.m.


USDA Service Center, US Hwy 70, Paducah, Tx.


10:00 a.m.


Greenbelt Elec. Coop. Meeting Rm.,
US Hwy 83, Childress, Tx.


8:30 a.m.


Roberson's Restaurant, U.S. Highway 83, Wellington, Tx.


2:00 p.m.


Courson RFO Bldg., Clarendon College, 1322 W. 2nd, Clarendon, Tx.


9:30 a.m.


USDA Service Center, U.S. Highway 70 East, Floydada, Tx.


1:30 p.m.


1st Bank & Trust Mtg Room, N. of Courthouse, Memphis, Tx


9:00 a.m.


USDA-ARS Center, 3810 4th St., Lubbock, Tx.


8:30 a.m.


USDA Service Center, 1103 Eubank, Matador, Tx.


9:00 a.m.


Five Area Telephone Mtg. Rm., 302 Uvalde St. (W Hwy 84), Muleshoe, Tx.


8:00 a.m.


USDA Ser. Cntr, 200 W. Taylor St., Morton, Tx.


6:00 p.m.


Pioneer Museum, US HWY 82, Crosbyton, Tx.


8:00 a.m.


USDA Service Center, 1301 South Main St., Seminole, Tx.


10:00 a.m.


Randall Co. AgriLife Ext. Center, 200 N Brown Rd., Canyon, Tx


8:30 a.m.


Chase Bank, 800 8th St., Levelland, Tx.

Deaf Smith

9:00 a.m.


Hereford Community Center, 100 Avenue C, Hereford, Tx.


8:30 a.m.


USDA Service Center, 109 NE 14th Street, Lamesa, Tx.


9:30 a.m.


Rhoads Memorial Library, 105 SW 2nd St., Dimmitt, Tx.


9:30 a.m.


Plains Community Building, 1006 Avenue G, Plains, Tx.


9:00 a.m.


Bovina EMS Building, 109 3rd St., Bovina, Tx.


8:30 a.m.


USDA Service Center, 1410 S. Alan Bean Blvd., Wheeler, Tx.


9:00 a.m.


Museum of the Plains, 1200 North Main Street, Perryton, Tx.