High Plains Cotton Crop Progress Steady;
Rainfall Would Be Welcome
Friday, August 8, 2014 By Mary Jane Buerkle
Early-season rains helped jump-start the 2014 High Plains cotton crop, but over the last few weeks, precipitation has been spotty across the area, leaving many wondering about the true yield potential.
Some dryland fields in the region are "waving the white flag of surrender," meaning they already are at the cutout stage, when the plant has finished maturing and setting all of its bolls. High temperatures and lack of moisture can accelerate growth, sometimes too quickly. Other dryland fields that were planted later seem to still be progressing nicely at this point.
In a general sense, the open weather over the past couple of weeks has encouraged delayed crops to catch up. Several at PCG's Friday Morning Advisory Group meeting today noted that irrigated acreage especially has come along well. Fruit set is good overall with few missing positions, and insect pressure is light.
However, the question of rainfall looms over the potential for this crop. For dryland acreage, if it doesn't rain in the next week or two, the effect could range anywhere from an impact in yield to a total loss. Irrigated producers have turned on their wells again, and there is no doubt they, too, would welcome a rain event to relieve the pressure on their systems.
Forecasts as of press time called for a slight chance of thunderstorms early next week. High temperatures are expected to remain in the 90's.
Even if it were to rain and High Plains farmers were able to get back toward average production of around 4 million bales, cotton prices remain in the 65-cent range, making it more difficult for producers to be profitable considering the rising cost of inputs. Although 65 cents is closer to the 10-year average, in other years, higher grain markets have offset lower cotton prices. This year, that isn't the case, and the absence of farm programs that used to be available to cotton producers certainly will be noted should the market continue to tumble.
"We've got some challenges ahead of us," PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett said. "When I was in DC with the Southwest Council of Agribusiness a couple of weeks ago, the comment I made to every office in DC is that the cotton program is the proverbial canary in the coal mine. We're going to find out whether crop insurance can be a viable farm policy for the United States, because that's what we've got, and that's the price protection we're going to have.
"But if we roll into February (2015) and the market still hasn't recovered, and our crop insurance price is in that mid-60s range, it certainly could affect a producer's risk management strategy," he said.
Area Producers Tour North Carolina,
Friday, August 8, 2014 Information from the NCC
Ten Southwestern cotton producers saw cotton and other agricultural operations in North Carolina and Virginia this week in the National Cotton Council's 2014 Producer Information Exchange program.
Sponsored by Bayer CropScience through a grant to The Cotton Foundation, the PIE exposes U.S. cotton producers to innovative production practices in Cotton Belt regions different than their own. Specifically, the program aims to help the cotton producer participants boost their farming efficiency by: 1) gaining new perspectives in such fundamental practices as land preparation, planting, fertilization, pest control, irrigation and harvesting and 2) observing firsthand the unique ways in which their innovative peers are using current technology. The NCC's Member Services staff, in conjunction with local producer interest organizations, conducts the program, including participant selection.
The Southwest cotton producer participants were: Kansas – Berry Bortz, Preston; Oklahoma – Collin McKinley, Frederick; and Spencer Smith, Elk City; and Texas – Andy Carthel, Friona; Hayden Davis, Welch; Andy Bill Fillingim, New Home; Duke Goodwin, Midland; Brian Hobratschk, Littlefield; Cecil Kalina, Miles; and Richard Lange, Norton.
The group began their activities in Raleigh, NC, with an orientation on Sunday and a visit the next day to Bayer CropScience's headquarters for a presentation on "Innovating Technologies with Greenhouses" along with a tour of the company's Bee Care Center. That afternoon, they traveled to Gaston to see cotton production at Dunlow & Dunlow Farms. On Wednesday in Suffolk, VA, the group heard about the manufacture of peanut harvesting equipment at Amadas Corp., and toured the Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center. While in Virginia that day, they also saw country ham curing at Darden's Country Store in Smithfield and cotton production at Byrum Family Farms and other Windsor area cotton farms.
In North Carolina on Wednesday, the group went to the Enviva plant in Northampton to see wood pellet manufacturing for energy consumption, learned about peanut processing at Baker Southern Tradition Peanuts in Roxobel, toured the Josey Lumber Mill and saw Bayer's new cotton variety trials at Josey Farms in Scotland Neck before seeing diverse agriculture production at Kent Smith Farms in Rocky Mount. The tour concluded on Thursday in North Carolina with a look at seed production and cleaning for commercial use at JP Davenport in Greenville; pickle processing at Mount Olive Pickle in Mount Olive; and observing tobacco, cotton, sweet potato and swine production at Warren Brothers Farms in Newton Grove.
Friday, August 8, 2014 By Mary Jane Buerkle
The annual meeting of the West Texas Agricultural Chemicals Institute has been scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 9, at the Scottish Rite Temple - Learning Center, located at 1101 70th Street in Lubbock (South Loop 289 and Interstate 27).
This year represents the 62nd meeting of WTACI, 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.
Topics to be discussed at the conference include pesticide application and laws and regulations, new herbicide systems, nematode control, an integrated pest management update, and much more. A detailed list of presentations and speakers can be found at http://wtaci.tamu.edu. TDA and CCA continuing education units will be available.
Pre-registration is available online at http://wtaci.tamu.edu/Registration.html. On-line registration fees are $75 for conference attendees and $300 for a booth and must be completed or postmarked by August 31. On-site registration will begin at 7 a.m. the day of the conference and will cost $95 for attendees and $325 for booth sponsors. Lunch will be provided as part of the registration fee.
Contact Marcus Sullivan at (806) 790-5404 or email@example.com for questions about the program and CEU's. If you have trouble or questions regarding registration contact David Pointer, 806-746-4021 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. The purpose of the public meetings is to receive input from farmers, ranchers, local agencies, organizations, local agricultural leaders, businesses, and other individuals with an interest in natural resource concerns.
Area meetings coming up are as follows:
August 12 – 8:15 a.m., USDA Service Center, 1103 Eubank, Matador
August 12 – 9 a.m., USDA Service Center, 114 W Belsher St. Ste B, Dimmitt
August 12 – 9 a.m., USDA Service Center, U.S. Highway 70 East, Floydada
August 12 – 10 a.m, USDA Service Center, 622 West 7th St., Dalhart
August 12 – 10 a.m., USDA Service Center, 909 West 9th Street, Spearman
August 12 – 10 a.m, Windows on the Plains Museum, 1820 South Dumas Ave, Dumas
August 12 – 10:30 a.m, USDA Service Center, 2315 11th Avenue, Canyon
August 13 – 8 a.m., Tahoka Housing Authority, 1400 Ave. K, Tahoka
August 13 – 9 a.m., Happy State Bank, 100 N. Main St., Stratford
August 13 – 9:30 a.m, Hereford Community Center, 100 Ave. C, Hereford
August 13 – 10 a.m., Bovina XIT Recreational Center, 215 North Street, Bovina
August 14 – 9 a.m., USDA Service Center, 800 North Main St., Perryton
August 14 – 9 a.m., Prosperity Bank Conference Room, 1323 Tahoka Rd, Brownfield
August 14 – 10:30 a.m., USDA Service Center Conference Room, 6565 Amarillo Blvd West, Suite B, Amarillo
August 14 – 12:30 p.m., USDA Service Center, 237 S. Main, Follett
For more information, contact the local USDA-NRCS office in your county, or access the information on the Texas NRCS website at http://www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov.