High Plains Producers Welcome Rainfall

Friday, September 16, 2011          By Mary Jane Buerkle

      Much-needed rains fell across the High Plains this week, giving irrigated producers a brief reprieve from the last stages of watering and everyone a morale boost.

      As of 10 a.m. Friday, the preceding 72-hour precipitation totals showed that the most rain fell to the southwest of Lubbock. In Denver City, 2.2 inches fell, and gauges recorded 1.37 inches in Plains, 1.32 inches in Seminole and 1.3 in Seagraves. At the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport, almost three-quarters of an inch of rain had fallen from Wednesday through 10 a.m. Friday.

      Although producers certainly appreciated the moisture, it will have little to no impact on finishing out the 2011 High Plains cotton crop as yield potential already has been set. Bolls are open in most fields, but those bolls are smaller than usual. Growers are applying defoliant in preparation for what will likely be a brief but quick-moving harvest season. To assist area producers with harvest aid decisions, Texas AgriLife Extension's 2011 Harvest Aid Guide is available at http://lubbock.tamu.edu.

      According to the most recent Farm Service Agency data, more than 2.5 million of the 4.5 million acres of cotton planted in the PCG service area this year have failed, bumping the official abandonment rate up to 56 percent. That number still is likely to rise.

      The other part of this growing season many would like to forget was the oppressive heat over the past four months. Heat units in Lubbock were 33.4 percent above normal from May 1 through July 31 of this year, and 24.9 percent above normal from August 1 through September 14. Based on the accumulation of heat units alone, the cotton crop in the Lubbock area would have finished out around August 10.

      "It's an understatement to say this has been a tough growing season, but we look forward to getting harvest under way and moving on to what hopefully will be a wetter 2012," PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett said.


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Industry Field Days Scheduled for September

      The Texas AgriLife Extension Service will conduct a subsurface drip irrigation field day at 9 a.m. Tuesday (Sept. 20) on the John Saylor Farm, located 12 miles west of Muleshoe. Take Farm-to-Market 1760, turn on County Road 44, travel a half-mile and turn west to the site located down the turn-row a quarter of a mile. For more information contact Curtis Preston at 806-272-4583 or email curtis.preston@agnet.tamu.edu.

      PhytoGen will host a grower field day on Friday, Sept. 23, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Overton Hotel and Conference Center, 2322 Mac Davis Lane in Lubbock. Please RSVP and register at http://events.signup4.com/Tailgate11.

      Deltapine/Monsanto field days will be held this week. Groups will meet at the Lubbock megasite in the Lubbock Business Park just south of Lubbock International Airport. For specific dates and times, please contact your local sales manager or Eric Best at (806) 790-4646.

      Bayer CropScience will host their field days on Sept. 28 (attendees south of Lubbock) and Sept. 29 (attendees north of Lubbock) at the Idalou Breeding Station, located 3.2 miles east of Idalou on U.S. Highway 62/82. Registration and field tours begin at 9:30 a.m., and lunch will follow. For questions, please call (806) 765-8844.

      If you have a crop tour or field day, we can help you spread the word! Call us at (806) 792-4904 or email maryjane@plainscotton.org.


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Cotton Board Lip Balm Donated to

U.S. Troops in Iraq

      The Memphis, TN-based Cotton Board is donating nearly 2,000 of their very popular lip balms to a U.S. platoon serving in Iraq. The donation effort is being coordinated by cotton farmers David and Pat Jones, who live just outside of Lubbock.

      "Our grandson, 2nd Lieutenant Cole Morrison is currently serving as platoon leader in Bandog Company, which is part of a Calvary unit based out of Fort Hood," explained David Jones, who farms cotton and has an interest in a cotton gin just south of Lubbock. Cole was raised on his dad's cotton farm just outside of Lorenzo. He graduated from West Point in 2010, completed officer's training and went to Iraq in July.

      "Our son-in-law (the soldier's father) is also a cotton farmer who farms just east of Lubbock," Jones said. Jones and his wife Pat wanted to send Cole and his men some items to help them feel more comfortable as they endured the tough conditions over in Iraq. "A typical day finds them in an armored vehicle or outside walking in 120-plus degree heat while wearing 100 lbs of battle gear," Jones said.

      Lifelong friend and Slaton resident Rick King heard about the Jones' effort and thought the Cotton Board's lip balm would be a perfect addition to the care package, so he contacted the Cotton Board's Southwest Regional Communication Manager, Bob Stanley.

      "I called David and Pat and told them the Cotton Board staff and leadership would view this as a great opportunity to support our troops and would love to be a part of their effort," Stanley said.

      Cotton producers who have attended the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show and the Texas Cotton Ginners show in Lubbock have come to associate lip balm with the Cotton Board's trade show booth. "It's been incredibly popular throughout the years and is now being used, albeit in a small way, to help keep our soldiers a little more comfortable in a really tough environment," Stanley said.


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Meeting Set to Discuss HPWD Rules

      The Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Crosby County will host a meeting to discuss the recently adopted High Plains Underground Water District rules. The meeting will be from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at The Smith House, 302 Aspen in Crosbyton.

      HPWD Manager Jim Conkwright will describe the rules in detail and answer questions from the audience. Cost is $10 and includes a chicken fried steak lunch. To help plan for the meal, please RSVP to the Crosby County Extension office at (806) 675-2347.