Abandonment Rate for 2011 High Plains

Cotton Crop Reaches Historical High

Lubbock, August 19, 2011                   By Mary Jane Buerkle

      It's now official more than half of the 4.53 million acres of cotton that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency says were planted on the High Plains will not be carried to harvest as the abandonment rate rises to the highest in the history of Plains Cotton Growers.

      According to data released by FSA, 2,476,960 acres of dryland cotton were planted and 2,179,071 of that has failed due to the relentless drought. And if you're wondering where that 297,889 acres of dryland cotton is, it probably doesn't exist either; insurance claims are still rolling in and those acreages most likely haven't been added to the official total yet.

      The FSA data says that 1,919,307 acres of irrigated cotton were planted in 2011, and so far 227,920 acres have failed, leaving about 1.69 million to potentially be harvested. However, with producers still in the process of deciding when to terminate irrigation, those numbers could still change.

      Historically, abandonment in the PCG 41-county service area averages about 15 to 20 percent each year. In 2010, it was just over 4 percent, the lowest in PCG's history. Currently, the abandonment rate stands officially at about 54 percent, the highest since the previous record in 1992 of just more than 53 percent, when rain and hail wiped out much of the High Plains cotton crop.

      Current conditions continue to be mixed with most acreage in the southern two-thirds of the PCG service area under severe stress and in fair to poor condition. However, many producers in the northern portion, where water is more readily available, have fair to good crops, although true yield obviously remains to be seen as the crop continues to progress.

      Some producers, especially in Gaines, Yoakum and Lubbock counties, are fighting thrips, but they're not the usual species of thrips known to plague cotton fields. These are Kurtomathrips, a highly destructive pest that can quickly defoliate cotton plants, causing damage similar to that of spider mites. According to Dr. David Kerns and Dr. Patrick Porter in the August 9 edition of FOCUS on South Plains Agriculture (found at http://lubbock.tamu.edu/focus/), the damage caused to those leaves could compromise boll size and yield.

      With most fields approaching or at the cut-out stage, the High Plains crop, on average, is about 2-3 weeks ahead and harvesting could begin in some areas as early as mid-September.

      "We've had a few areas that have received some moisture over the past week or two, but it's been spotty, for the most part," PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett said. "At this point, most of the yield has been set on these plants."

      The FSA data is available online on their public website and is updated monthly. To access that data, visit http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?area=newsroom&subject=landing&topic=foi-er-fri-cad.


Texas International Cotton School Graduates

Class of 2011 With Record Enrollment

      Thirty-one students, about half of which from 12 countries around the world, graduated from the 22nd session of The Texas International Cotton School, held August 8-12 and 15-19 at the Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute of Texas Tech University. The school, held each year in Lubbock, is a collaboration between the Texas cotton merchants who make up the Lubbock Cotton Exchange and FBRI faculty and staff.

      The intensive program allows students the opportunity to learn about cotton from field to fabric from 31 experts from across the United States. Topics include seed breeding, farm production, harvesting, ginning, warehousing, merchandising, and textile manufacturing.

      All aspects of U.S. and global trade of cotton are covered, so the students obtain an understanding of what is required to successfully participate in the U.S. cotton market and to deliver the cottons needed in a diverse U.S. and export market. They learn about the important quality attributes of cotton fibers and how these translate into processing efficiency and textile product quality. Students also have the opportunity to interact with members of the Lubbock Cotton Exchange and others in the agribusiness community at social events.

      Graduates include Sanjit Acharya, TTU/FBRI; Reagan Anders, Texas AgriLife Research/TTU; Eddie Bergen, cotton producer, Seminole; Guy Story Brown, cotton producer, Slaton; Mary Jane Buerkle, Plains Cotton Growers, Lubbock; Justin Cave, Texas AgriLife Research/TTU; Johnson Chen, Shin Sheng Group, Taiwan; Tyler Cowie, TTU; Kyle Fadal, ECOM-USA/TTU; Bralie Hendon, TTU/cotton producer; Gervas Kaisi, Tanzania Bureau of Standards; Hyung-Ju Kim, Ilshin Mill Co., Ltd., South Korea; Young Kweon Kim, Ilshin Mill Co., Ltd., South Korea; Will Keeling, TTU; Howard Lu, D&A International Inc., China; Maryam Mbwana, Tanzania Cotton Board; Shay Morris, TTU; Bree Nelson, Crop Plus Insurance Agency, Seminole; Dev Raj Paudel, TTU/FBRI; Carlos De Lao Perez, Algodonera Intenacional de Mexico; Rajeev Rajbhandari, TTU/FBRI; Lorena Ruiz, Conolgodon, Colombia; Jahanzaib Saeed, Mahmood Cotton Ginners, Pakistan; Laura Salazar, Colimar Inc., Mission; Tarik Sonmez, Taya Textile, Turkey/New York; Sterling Terrell, Ocho Gin Co., Seminole; Mamadou Togola, Cerfitex, Mali; Dylan Wann, Texas AgriLife Research/TTU; Bobby Wuertz, CalCot; Kimberly Vining, TTU; and Gustave Zongo, Sofitex, Burkina Faso.

      For more information on the Texas International Cotton School, visit http://www.texasintlcottonschool.com.


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August 24 Turnrow Meeting in Gaines County

Focuses on Kurtomathrips

      Texas AgriLife Extension experts will host a turnrow meeting on Wednesday, August 24, beginning at 10 a.m. Participants should meet at the intersection of CR 108 and U.S. Highway 62/385, approximately three miles north of Seminole. The field is on the south side of Wallach Concrete.

      This quick meeting, expected to last no longer than 30 minutes, will help participants identify and manage Kurtomathrips, a very destructive thrips species being found in cotton throughout Gaines County and the Southern High Plains.

      Topics include how to scout for the pest, how to identify the pest, plant symptoms, and management options. Speakers will be David Kerns, Extension Entomologist, and Manda Anderson, Gaines County Extension Agent-IPM.

      For more information, please contact Manda Anderson at (432) 788-0800 or mganderson@ag.tamu.edu.


Farm Policy Challenges Discussed

August 19, 2011             From the National Cotton Council

      The American Cotton Producers and The Cotton Foundation joint meeting in Corpus Christi, TX, featured a keynote address by Joe Shultz, chief economist with the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Committee. He provided some background on Debbie Stabenow, that Committee's new chairwoman, and reviewed the challenges facing that panel for the development of new farm policy as a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011. Shultz indicated that the Committee would eventually be seeking input from commodity organizations on ways to achieve savings and farm program delivery systems.

      NCC Chairman Charles Parker provided an overview of recent activities, including the actions of the Vision 21 Stakeholders Committee and the Performance and Standards Task Force. John Maguire, NCC senior vice president, Washington Operations, and Mike Tate, chairman of the NCC's Environmental Task Force, presented updates on current policy matters. Maguire's report covered issues related to trade policy, farm policy development and the budget/appropriation process. Tate provided an overview of several important environmental policy issues. Gary Adams, NCC vice president, Economics and Policy Analysis, presented a cotton economic update. The joint session received an update on NCC-conducted weed resistance activities from Don Parker, the NCC's manager, Integrated Pest Management.

      The ACP, in executive session, held extensive discussions on farm policy options based on recommendations from its Farm Policy Task Force and developed recommendations for consideration by the NCC Board, which meets on Aug. 24-26 in Santa Fe, NM.


Agricultural Chemicals Conference

Scheduled for September

Lubbock, August 19, 2011                by Mary Jane Buerkle

      The West Texas Agricultural Chemicals Institute will host the 59th annual Agricultural Chemicals Conference on Wednesday, September 14, at the Scottish Rite Learning Center, located at 1101 70th Street in Lubbock. Registration begins at 7 a.m., and the program begins at 7:50 a.m.

      More than 300 producers, chemical dealers and people in the agribusiness community are expected to attend the conference, which will feature a water policy update, a federal legislative/regulatory update, and discussions on issues in various crops and in irrigation. At lunch, WTACI will present scholarships and awards to students and individuals in the agricultural industry. Since 2001, WTACI has awarded more than $60,000 in scholarships.

      Participants can earn up to 4.5 continuing education units from the Texas Department of Agriculture and up to 6.5 CCA CEUs. CEUs from the New Mexico Department of Agriculture are still pending.

      Conference registration is $95/person the day of the conference, but participants can save by pre-registering at a rate of $75/person. Pre-registration must be completed online or postmarked by September 1. Lunch is included.

      Online registration is at http://wtaci.tamu.edu, or participants can fill out a form available at that website. Some also may receive the form in the mail.

      For more information, contact WTACI President Terry Campbell at Americot, Inc., (806) 793-1431; Vice President David Kerns, Ph.D., at the TAMUS Research and Extension Center at (806) 746-4045; or visit the WTACI website at http://wtaci.tamu.edu.

      WTACI is an unincorporated organization of dealers, industry representatives, agricultural producers, scientists, educators, and agribusiness members who support education and research programs promoting safe and effective use of agricultural chemicals and protection and preservation of the area's natural resources.



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