Planting Progress Mixed Across High Plains

Lubbock, May 20, 2011                       By Mary Jane Buerkle

      Minimal to non-existent rains across the High Plains continue to force producers to delay planting, particularly on dryland acreage.

      As of Monday, Lubbock County Extension Agent Mark Brown reported that only about 10% of the cotton crop was in the ground in Lubbock County, but that throughout the week, more planters were seen in Lubbock County fields. That number is expected to increase significantly as producers decided to forge ahead with their decision to get seed in the ground.

      So far, irrigated fields have seen more activity, particularly in the northern parts of PCG's service area where the area's first final planting date May 31 is drawing nearer. However, producers were having a tougher time keeping moisture in those fields as rain continued to elude their area as well.

      Current weather models show little sign of relief, with the 10-day forecast predicting highs in the upper 80s to low 90s and zero chance of precipitation.

      This falls in line with the continued pattern of uncertainty and bad news for dryland producers, especially those with lots of ground to cover. Although those in the southern two-thirds of PCG's service area have until June 5 and the farthest south until June 10, every day with no rain becomes more costly and unnerving.

      Blair Fannin with Texas AgriLife Extension reported that statewide, preliminary agricultural losses due to drought already are approaching $1.5 billion. That number could increase significantly if this weather pattern continues and cotton production is affected.

      The Texas Forest Service reports that since fire season started on November 15, more than 2.6 million acres of Texas land has been charred by more than 10,000 fires. Elevated fire weather conditions exist across the PCG service area and the rest of Texas with the high winds, high temperatures and low humidity.

      Moisture could turn this whole situation around in a hurry, though, so there is hope for a successful beginning to the 2011 crop year. Brown said that 25 to 30 percent of the total acreage in Lubbock County could be planted in one week if conditions are right. The 2010 crop, at 5.3 million bales, was the third-largest in the PCG service area in the organization's history.


USDA's March Marketing Numbers Take

2010 Shipments Over 15 Million Bales

Lubbock, May 20, 2011                             By Shawn Wade

      USDA figures estimating reported cotton marketings and prices through the first eight months of the 2010 Upland cotton marketing year indicate that 15.2 million of the United State's 17.6 million bale Upland cotton crop have been marketed and shipped through the end of March 2011.

      The numbers suggest that only 2.4 million 2010-crop bales, plus cotton carried over from previous years, are still available for shipment during the remainder of the 2010 marketing year.

      The March 2011 marketing figures, released April 29 by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, show the month's 413,000 bales marketed was less that one-half of the total reported for the month of February. Overall shipments for the 2010 season peaked during the month of December at 4.2 million bales and have steadily declined each month since.

      On the price side of the report, the data again reinforces the fact that a vast majority of 2010-crop cotton had been sold long before the harvest season price advance. Based on the addition of the March marketing and price information the current 2010-crop Weighted Average Price Received by farmers for Upland cotton stands at 81.39 cents per pound, a far cry from the harvest season highs that garnered so much attention in the news. The April 29 report also indicates that the average price received by growers was 82.3-cents per pound for bales marketed during the month of March.

      Thus far it seems that the limited amount of free cotton that was sold by producers during the harvest run-up has yet to be captured in the USDA marketing reports. When they do show up it will be interesting to see how much cotton is reported as having been sold at the higher levels, as well as how much impact it will have on the final average price calculation.

      The following table shows the average price received each month by farmers and the associated weighted average price based on prices and cumulative marketings reported from August 1, 2010 through March 31, 2011.

      The 2010 counter-cyclical payment rate authorized under the 2008 Farm Bill would be based on the 12-month Weighted Average Price Received by growers. For cotton the 12-month Weighted Average Price will reflect price and marketings for the 2010 marketing year. The 2010 cotton marketing year began in August 1, 2010 and ends July 31, 2011.


Average Price Received For 2010-crop Upland Cotton (Weighted by Marketings)





(000's of Running bales)







August '10





Sept '10





October '10





November '10





December '10





January '11





February '11





March '11





April '11





Source: National Agricultural Statistics Service; * = preliminary


NRCS to Host Local Work Group Meetings

      The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Soil and Water Conservation Districts will host Local Work Group meetings in May and June. The purpose of the public meetings is to receive input from farmers, ranchers, local agencies, organizations, local agricultural leaders, businesses, and other individuals that have an interest in natural resource concerns.

      Upcoming area meetings are as follows:

      May 25 Amarillo, Agrilife Extension Center, 6500 Amarillo Blvd. West, 10 a.m.

      June 3 Plains, Plains Community Building, 1006 Avenue G, 8:30 a.m.

      June 6 Littlefield, Security State Bank, 501 Phelps Avenue, 10 a.m.

      June 7 Lamesa, USDA Service Center, 109 NE 14th Street, 9 a.m.

      June 7 Post, Wells Fargo Bank Meeting Room, 216 W. Main Street, 9 a.m.

      June 8 Bovina, Bovina EMS Building, 109 3rd Street, 9:30 a.m.

      June 8 Spur, USDA Service Center, 312 Williard Avenue, 7 p.m.

      June 9 Tahoka, Tahoka Housing Authority, 1400 Avenue K, 8:30 a.m.

      Later meetings will be listed in a future Cotton News. For more information, contact the local USDA-NRCS office in your county, listed under USDA in the Yellow Pages, or access the information on the Texas NRCS website at


Federal Farm Program Deadlines Approaching

      Producers should remain aware of sign-up and reporting deadlines for several federal farm programs and schedule their appointments with county FSA offices accordingly, the USDA Texas Farm Service Agency said Friday.

      The enrollment deadline for the 2011 Direct and Counter-cyclical Program (DCP) and the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) Program is June 1.

      Eligible DCP participants receive a direct payment and/or a counter-cyclical payment. Direct payment rates are established by statute regardless of market prices. Counter-cyclical payments vary depending on market prices, and are issued only when the effective price for a commodity is below its target price (which takes into account the direct payment rate, market price and loan rate).

      ACRE protects producers from farm market revenue declines when revenue triggers are met for a commodity at both the state and farm level. Farms that are already enrolled in the Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program (DCP) for a crop year can elect to switch to ACRE before the end of signup.

      Both DCP and ACRE participants must sign annual contracts to receive program benefits. All signatures of producers who will receive a share of DCP and ACRE payments must be on file by the June 1 deadline.


      Below is a schedule of important FSA program deadlines to remember:


May 31 2010 Crop Year Final Loan Availability Date for Corn, Soybeans, Grain Sorghum, Sunflowers, Rice, Cotton and Pulse Crops

June 1 Deadline for 2011 Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program (DCP) Enrollment and for 2011 Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) Program Election

July 29 2009 Supplemental Revenue Assistance (SURE) Program Signup Deadline

August 1 Deadline to Request a 2011 Farm Reconstitution

September 1 Deadline to file 2010 Production Reports for ACRE. This deadline was extended from the original deadline of July 15 for 2010 production only.


      The 2011 Crop Year Acreage Reporting deadline for most crops and the deadline to file 2010 Production Reports for most Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) crops varies by region, so producers should contact the local FSA county office to determine county-specific deadlines.

      For more information about FSA program and reporting deadlines, contact your local FSA office or visit the web at


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