Precipitation, Markets Critical as Producers

Make Decisions for 2013

Friday, February 22, 2013                 By Mary Jane Buerkle

      Many High Plains producers have seen more rain and snow in the first two months of this year than during the same time in 2011 or 2012, but by no means does that signal plentiful soil moisture going into the 2013 crop – at this point, anyway.

      Precipitation totals for 2013, according to the West Texas Mesonet, range from less than an inch in several areas along the Texas/New Mexico border to almost three inches in other parts of the PCG service area.

      However, observing what seems to be a more consistent pattern of rainfall than in recent years gives area producers even more of a reason to be optimistic about the upcoming cotton crop.

      "If we keep seeing these little rains over the next couple of months, it could add up and put us in better shape than we've been in going into the past two crops," PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett said.

      Precipitation and the cotton market have the potential to be game-changers when it comes to planted acreage on the High Plains. Cotton prices currently are trending higher, with December futures over 80 cents, while grain prices have been trending downward.

      February is a critical month for the market, as the projected crop insurance price for High Plains cotton for 2013 is calculated using the average closing price of the December 2013 contract for the month of February. Barring any market crashes, that price should be above 80 cents for counties with March 15 crop insurance sales closing dates.

      "We know that producers currently are making decisions for the 2013 crop and what they plan to grow, but there still is a lot of time between now and when any seed goes into the ground," Verett said. "There undoubtedly will be some acreage shift on the High Plains into grain, but only time will tell just how much."


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2013 Seed Cost Calculator Now Available

Friday, February 22, 2013                          By Shawn Wade

      The 2013 version of the Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. Seed Cost Calculator is ready and available for download from the PCG website at

      The PCG seed cost calculator is an interactive Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that allows producers to calculate an estimated cost per acre, for both seed and technology, based on published suggested retail prices. The calculator has become a popular tool among producers interested in comparing seed and technology prices as they work to finalize their cotton variety selections.

      The 2013 version of the spreadsheet includes listings for 98 conventional, Roundup Ready FLEX, GlyTol, Bollgard II and Widestrike varieties, including numerous stacked gene versions of these technologies that will be available for sale in West Texas in 2013.




PCG's 56th Annual Meeting

Friday, April 5

Lubbock Memorial Civic Center

9 a.m.-Noon


More information coming soon!


USDA Announces 45th General Sign-Up

for Conservation Reserve Program

      Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack earlier this month announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will conduct a four-week general sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program, beginning May 20 and ending on June 14. CRP has a 27-year legacy of protecting the nation's natural resources through voluntary participation, while providing significant economic and environmental benefits to rural communities across the United States. Under Secretary Vilsack's leadership, USDA has enrolled 11.7 million acres in various CRP efforts.

      "Since the 1980s, the CRP program has established itself as a benchmark in voluntary conservation efforts, providing American producers with assets to address our most critical resource issues," said Vilsack.

      Additional sign-ups for continuous CRP programs-such as Highly Erodible Land Initiative and Initiative to Restore Grasslands, Wetlands and Wildlife-will be announced in spring 2013.

      Currently, about 27 million acres are enrolled in CRP, which is a voluntary program available to agricultural producers to help them safeguard environmentally sensitive land. Producers enrolled in CRP plant long-term, resource-conserving covers to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion and enhance wildlife habitat. Contracts on 3.3 million acres of CRP are set to expire on Sept. 30, 2013. Producers with expiring contracts or producers with environmentally sensitive land are encouraged to evaluate their options under CRP.

      Producers that are accepted in the sign-up can receive cost-share assistance to plant long-term, resource-conserving covers and receive an annual rental payment for the length of the contract (10-15 years). Producers also are encouraged to look into CRP's other enrollment opportunities offered on a continuous, non-competitive, sign-up basis and that often provide additional financial assistance. Continuous sign-up dates will be announced at a later date.    Over the past 27 years, farmers, ranchers, conservationists, hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts have made CRP one of the largest and most important USDA efforts. CRP continues to make major contributions to national efforts to improve water and air quality, and to prevent soil erosion by protecting the most sensitive areas including those prone to flash flooding and runoff. CRP has also helped increase populations of pheasants, quail, ducks, and rare species, like the sage grouse, the lesser prairie chicken, and other grassland birds. Highlights of CRP include:

      CRP has restored more than two million acres of wetlands and two million acres of riparian buffers; Each year, CRP keeps more than 600 million pounds of nitrogen and more than 100 million pounds of phosphorous from flowing into our nation's streams, rivers, and lakes. CRP provides $1.8 billion annually to landowners-dollars that make their way into local economies, supporting small businesses and creating jobs; and CRP is the largest private lands carbon sequestration program in the country. By placing vulnerable cropland into conservation, CRP sequesters carbon in plants and soil, and reduces both fuel and fertilizer usage. In 2012, CRP resulted in carbon sequestration equal to taking about nine million cars off the road.

      For more information on CRP and other FSA programs, visit a local FSA service center or



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Upcoming Area Ag Conferences

      NOTE: A complete list, along with program agendas when made available, can be found on the Plains Cotton Growers website at

      February 26 - Irrigation Management Meeting, Groom - Contact Jody Bradford, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-537-3882.

      February 26 - Pre-Watering Irrigation/Weed Control Meeting, Lamesa - Contact Gary Roschetzky, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-872-3444.

      February 26 - Ag Conference, Pampa Annex - Contact Brandon McGinty, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-669-8033.

      February 27 - Turkey/Quitaque Ag Producers Meeting, Turkey - Contact Nathan Carr, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-823-2522.

      February 28 - Sandyland Ag Conference, Seminole Civic Building - Contact Terry Millican, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 432-758-4006.

      February 28 - Irrigation Strategy Workshop, Stratford - Contact Marcel Fischbacher, County Extension Agent-AG, for more information at 806-935-2594.

      If you have another conference to add to this list, or if you have an agenda you'd like to link, please call PCG at (806) 792-4904.



News from Cotton Council International

      COTTON USA's Premier Sourcing Event Moves to Panama City, Panama: Preparations are underway for COTTON USA's Sourcing Fair, to be held April 28 through May 1 in Panama. The event will feature sourcing opportunities for the 13 Sourcing Program mills and foreign partners and will include presentations by leading economists and technical specialists. Including two new mills, 13 U.S. textile mills will benefit from COTTON USA's Sourcing Program in 2013.

      The new members, Central Textiles/Cotswold Industries and Swisstex Direct, will join Alamac American Knits, American Denimatrix, Buhler Quality Yarns Corporation, CCW, Contempora Fabrics, Frontier Spinning Mills, Hamrick Mills, Jo-Mar Spinning, Parkdale Mills, Tuscarora Yarns and Zagis USA.

      The COTTON USA Sourcing Program has been a successful partnership between CCI and U.S. textile manufacturers since 2000, focusing on regional and global downstream markets. The program has worked throughout the U.S.-Western Hemisphere textile and apparel supply chain to introduce U.S. mills to customers, developing and strengthening relationships between U.S. mills, retailers, brands, uniform companies and global apparel manufacturers.

      COTTON USA "Crease Culture" Campaign Builds Momentum in the UK: COTTON USA's December rollout of "Crease Culture" led to marketing success including a potential reach of 130 million consumers and an equivalent earned advertising value of more than $3.3 million. The public relations campaign presents COTTON USA research that reveals what the shirt says about the man.

      The campaign included a home makeover video featuring COTTON USA licensees' products and a series of product promotions through consumer competitions on high value media sites. The COTTON USA research and product promotion has been featured in numerous national newspapers and high traffic websites, including Mail Online – the world's largest newspaper website.

      COTTON USA Reaches Taiwan Consumers through Music: COTTON USA's sold-out show featuring COTTON USA Ambassador Zhixiang Luo reached 9.6 million, generating an earned advertising value of over $300,000. The concert, themed "Cotton Fashion Be Yourself," featured four sold-out shows in Taipei, Taiwan. Luo, known as "Asia's Dance King," sang COTTON USA's theme song "Love Needs No Words." The song has received over 1.61 million hits through COTTON USA presence on YouTube and Facebook. Consumers received concert tickets by purchasing COTTON USA products from 111 licensed brands during the "Cotton Fashion Be Yourself" in-store sales promotion. COTTON USA's 14,500 followers in Taiwan and other visitors to the site can find details on promotions at