High Plains Producers Welcome Rainfall

Friday, September 14, 2012          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 noon Friday, the preceding 72-hour precipitation totals showed that the most rain fell just north of Lubbock and to the southwest, near Seminole. In Abernathy, 1.64 inches fell, and gauges recorded 1.58 inches in Seminole, 1.44 inches in northwest Lubbock and 1.13 in O'Donnell. At the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport, about an inch of rain had fallen over the week through noon Friday.

      Although rain certainly is welcome anytime, it won't have much impact on finishing out the 2012 High Plains cotton crop. Many irrigated producers are beginning to shut down wells while others will continue for another week to ten days. Bolls are opening in most fields. Some spraying of defoliant has been reported and some gins have already begun operating, but for the most part, harvest won't be into full swing until October.

      The Terry/Yoakum County IPM Blog has links to cotton harvest aid and cotton harvest decision guides at http://agrilife.org/yoakumterryipm/.

      According to the most recent Farm Service Agency data, about 700,000 of the 4.26 million acres of cotton planted in the PCG service area this year have failed. That number is expected to increase in future reports, but for now abandonment in the PCG service area stands at 16%, below the long-term average abandonment rate for the area, which is 20%.

      A report released Wednesday by the National Agricultural Statistics Service dropped Texas production estimates from 6.7 million bales of cotton to 6.1 million bales, a decrease of 600,000 bales from the August report. Nationwide, production estimates dropped from just under 17 million bales of upland cotton to almost 16.5 million bales, a decrease of about 500,000 bales from the August report.

      Supply-demand forecasts also were released this week, and the bearish numbers drove cotton futures to almost one-month lows, according to Duane Howell, DTN contributing cotton analyst.


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Area Field Days Scheduled

      Mark your calendars for the following area field days:

      September 18 – Deltapine Field Day, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Steve Chapman Farm, Lorenzo

      September 19 – Deltapine Field Day, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Deltapine Facility in Aiken/Floyd County

      September 20 – Deltapine Field Day, 3 p.m., Mark and Blaine Nichols Farm, Gaines County

      September 24 – Deltapine Field Day, 4 p.m., Doug Jost Farm in St. Lawrence

      September 25 – All-Tex Field Day, 9:30 a.m., All-Tex, 2200 West Avenue, Levelland (lunch served at noon)

      September 25 – Americot Field Day, 11:30 a.m., Adobe Walls Gin in Spearman for shrimp boil, then to Travis Patterson's field for variety demonstrations

      September 25 – Deltapine Field Day, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., AGCARES in Lamesa

      September 26 – Americot Field Day, 11:30 a.m., Carson County Gin near White Deer for shrimp boil, then to Wade Ritter's field for variety demonstrations

      September 26 – Bayer CropScience Field Day (for attendees located south of Lubbock), 9:30 a.m., Idalou Breeding Station, 3.2 miles east of Idalou on U.S. Highway 62/82, next to Apple Country Orchards

      September 27 – Americot Field Day, 11:30 a.m., Quail Community Center in Wellington for shrimp boil followed by field day. CEUs available.

      September 27 – Bayer CropScience Field Day (for attendees located north of Lubbock), 9:30 a.m., Idalou Breeding Station, 3.2 miles east of Idalou on U.S. Highway 62/82, next to Apple Country Orchards

      For more information on the All-Tex Field Day, call Cody Poage at (806) 894-4901.

      For more information on the Americot field days, call Jerry Montgomery at (806) 577-8011 or Denver Cole at (940) 704-7214.

      For more information on the Bayer CropScience field days, call (806) 765-8844.

      For more information on the Deltapine field days, call Eric Best at (806) 790-4646.

      If you have a field day you would like to add to this schedule, please call Mary Jane Buerkle at (806) 792-4904 or email maryjane@plainscotton.org.



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Programming Discussed For

2013 Beltwide Cotton Conferences

      The Beltwide Cotton Conferences Steering Committee, chaired by Mississippi producer/ginner Kenneth Hood, discussed topics for consideration at the 2013 BWCC, set for Jan. 7-10 at the Marriott Rivercenter and Riverwalk hotels in San Antonio.

      Information on the conferences is at http://www.cotton.org/beltwide. On Sept. 14, the site also will include instructions for early housing, which will begin that day as a special benefit for NCC and Cotton Foundation members only.

      Key agronomic, pest management, economic and policy reports are being planned for the Cotton Production Conference. Among key issues being considered are weed resistance prevention/management, managing energy-related expenses, including those associated with fertility and irrigation practices; the growing importance of weather patterns on crop mix/production decisions and of social media for timely information sharing.

      "There will be discussions of tools available that can help producers hold down their energy-related expenses," said Bill Robertson, the NCC's manager, Agronomy, Soils & Physiology. "For example, there are stabilizers that can help producers enhance fertilizer availability to the plant and many irrigation scheduling programs available at no cost that can help producers increase irrigation efficiency."

      Robertson said the Steering Committee, which is comprised of several producers and producer/ginners from across the Cotton Belt, also discussed the importance of more judicious use of crop inputs, especially with the current high fertilizer and fuel costs. In addition, there was recognition of the significance of conserving natural resources through the use of cover crops, tillage practices and better irrigation scheduling/application.

      "Weed resistance, unfortunately, still needs attention as pigweed resistance is now suspected in parts of Texas and possibly in Arizona," Robertson said. "The management of various insect pests – stink bugs in the Southeast, plant bugs in the Mid-South and fleahoppers in the Southwest – also will be discussed along with variety selection, new chemistries and cotton marketing."

      Another area the Steering Committee deemed relevant is today's growing use of social media as a way for timely sharing of information. The use of smart phones, blogs, tweeting and Facebook, for example, is making real time information flow much easier between producers, consultants, Extension, researchers and agribusiness personnel.

      In addition to the Cotton Production Conference general session and workshops, the 2013 BWCC will continue to feature the New Developments from Industry session, the Cotton Consultants Conference and 11 cotton technical conferences.


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Grand Opening Scheduled for Newly

Renovated Lamesa Classing Office

      The USDA, AMS Cotton and Tobacco Program is pleased to announce the grand opening of its newly renovated cotton classification facility in Lamesa on Monday, September 24.

      This facility has been expanded to more than 21,000 square feet and features state-of-the-art electronic cotton classification instruments, automation devices, rapid conditioning units, upgraded mainframe computer equipment, and energy conservation features not found anywhere else in cotton classification.

      The facility will house up to 24 High Volume Instruments that can operate around the clock, when necessary, to provide accurate and timely cotton classification data to producers from the surrounding production territory.

      The grand opening will be commemorated with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m., and will feature Congressman Mike Conaway, ranking officials from the AMS Cotton and Tobacco Program, representatives from multiple cotton trade organizations, and several public officials from the city of Lamesa. An open house will follow the grand opening ceremony, and facility tours will be offered throughout the day as well as light snacks and beverages.

      Please RSVP to ralph.cummings@ams.usda.gov and courtesy copy darryl.earnest@ams.usda.gov by Thursday, September 20, if you can attend and also include how many guests you plan to bring.