High Plains Harvest Continues

Friday, December 5, 2014                      By Mary Jane Buerkle

      If there ever is a time when a cotton farmer would prefer drier weather conditions, it's during harvest, and those favorable conditions have enabled producers to make significant harvest progress over the past couple of weeks.

      The Lubbock classing office was processing anywhere from about 40,000 to more than 46,000 bales per day from November 28 through December 3, according to data from the USDA-AMS Cotton Market News Report. They have, at press time, not yet surpassed the million-bale mark for the 2014 season. However, adding in data from Lamesa brings the season total for both offices to about 1.42 million bales classed so far.

      Although many producers were waiting on a freeze to begin the defoliation process, the way that freeze occurred was not optimal for some. Temperatures plummeted from the mid-70s to the 20s within a matter of hours without a frost beforehand to prepare the plant, and some bolls that could have finished opening with a little encouragement simply locked up, which could create some issues with quality.

      Predominant color for both the Lubbock and Lamesa offices is 21 with a leaf grade of 3. Average staple is above 35 and bark is around 20 percent in both offices.


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NCC's STAX/Farm Bill Workshops Scheduled

in PCG Area This Week

      The National Cotton Council is teaming up with Plains Cotton Growers, the Texas Cotton Ginners Association and Texas Farm Bureau to host four meetings this week in the PCG service area.

      The meetings will provide an in-depth look at the new Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX) and the Supplemental Coverage Option. Coverage levels, expected yields and premium rates will be covered in detail in order to better equip producers with the information necessary to evaluate the insurance options for 2015. The meetings also will include an update on overall farm bill implementation and a question/answer session.

      Gary Adams, Vice President, Economics for the NCC is scheduled to lead these four meetings on December 9 in Amarillo and Plainview and on December 10 in Lamesa and Lubbock. The times and locations for these meetings are included in the following list, which also can be found on the PCG website at http://www.plainscotton.org/mj/agconferences/agconferences.html.

      Mark your calendars for these upcoming Farm Bill meetings:

      Dec. 8 - Farm Bill Decision Aid Tool Meeting, 10 a.m., Armstrong County Activity Center, Claude. More info: (806) 226-3021.

      Dec. 9 - National Cotton Council Farm Bill/STAX/SCO Meeting, 9 a.m., AgriLife Extension Center, 6500 Amarillo Boulevard West, Amarillo.

      Dec. 9 - Farm Bill Decision Aid Tool Meeting, 9 a.m.-Noon, First United Bank, 201 N. Broadway, Dimmitt. More info: (806) 647-4115.

      Dec. 9 - National Cotton Council Farm Bill/STAX/SCO Meeting, 2:30 p.m. Plainview Country Club, 2902 West 4th Street, Plainview.

      Dec. 10 - National Cotton Council Farm Bill/STAX/SCO Meeting, 8:30 a.m. Leroy Colgan Bldg., S. 10th St. & S. Houston St. at Forrest Park, Lamesa.

      Dec. 10 - Farm Bill Decision Aid Tool Meeting, 10 a.m., Oldham County Barn, Vega. More info: (806) 267-2692.

      Dec. 10 - National Cotton Council Farm Bill/STAX/SCO Meeting, 1 p.m. Bayer Museum of Agriculture, 1121 Canyon Lake Drive, Lubbock.

      Dec. 11 - Farm Bill Decision Aid Tool Meeting, 10 a.m., Roberts County Annex, 122 Water Street, Miami. More info: (806) 868-3191.

      Dec. 16 - Farm Bill Decision Aid Tool Meeting, 10 a.m., War Memorial Building, Panhandle. More info: (806) 537-3882.

      Dec. 19 - Farm Bill Decision Aid Tool Meeting, 8 a.m.-11 a.m., Floyd County Friends Unity Center, 990 FM 786, Lockney. More info: (806) 983-4912 or (806) 675-2347.



High Plains Water District Personnel Making

Annual Water Level Measurements

Thursday, December 4, 2014                        From the HPWD

       High Plains Underground Water Conservation District (HPWD) personnel are now in the field making annual water level measurements to determine the effect of 2014 pumping on groundwater levels of the aquifers within the district's 16-county service area.

      These measurements are made in a network of more than 1,400 privately-owned water wells. These observation wells are spaced at a density of about one well per nine square miles throughout the district.

      After the measurement is made, a blue vinyl sticker with the observation well number, the depth-to-water level measurement, and the date of the measurement is affixed to the well equipment or other appropriate surface near the well site.

      High Plains Water District personnel measure the same wells in the observation well network each year as long as the individual wells are accessible and continue to provide satisfactory data. 

      The current depth-to-water level measurements in individual wells are compared to those of previous years to determine the average annual change in water levels of the aquifers within the district.

      These water level data are made available to the public through an interactive observation well map on the district's web site as well as publication in an annual water level measurement report.

      Additional information about the water level measurement program is available by contacting HPWD at (806) 762-0181 or by visiting the district's web site at http://www.hpwd.org.

      Created in 1951 by local residents and the Texas Legislature, the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1 is charged with the responsibility of conserving, preserving, protecting, and preventing waste of groundwater within its 16-county service area. HPWD is the first groundwater conservation district created in Texas.



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NCC Encourages Early Beltwide Registration

      Monday, Dec. 15, is the last day for discounted registration for the National Cotton Council's 2015 Beltwide Cotton Conferences, to be held Jan. 5-7 at the Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio.

      Registration costs before Dec. 15 are: $175 for NCC/Cotton Foundation members, university and USDA researchers, Extension personnel, associations and consultants; $300 for non-NCC members; and $80 for students.

      Instructions for registration and housing, a schedule of events, and general information are at http://www.cotton.org/beltwide.

      Attendees, both pre-registered and those who register on-site, must print name badges at the registration kiosk, which will be available 24 hours a day beginning the evening of Jan. 4. Badges also can be obtained at a staffed registration desk that will open on the morning of Jan. 5.

      Attendees will have access to individual reports and panel discussions with information for helping them make key cotton decisions related to research, production and marketing.

      The Consultants Conference's first day, on Jan. 5, will begin at 1 p.m. with updates from the BWCC sponsors: Bayer CropScience, Cheminova, Dow AgroSciences/Phytogen, Monsanto, NuFarm and Syngenta. The New Developments From Industry session will follow and include a report on NCC-led efforts to deliver contamination-free cotton as well as updates on new varieties, chemistries and other emerging technologies. In the Jan. 6 Consultants Conference session, attendees will hear selected cotton technical conference presentations on insect and weed control, soil and irrigation management, plant physiology and fiber quality. The 11 cotton technical conferences will meet that day and for a half day on Jan. 7. Program details are on the BWCC website at http://ncc.confex.com/ncc/2015/webprogram/start.html.

      The BWCC annually brings together those with a stake in a healthy U.S. cotton production sector, including industry members, university and USDA researchers, Extension personnel/agents, consultants, and industry sales/support personnel. They are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the Beltwide's dynamic program and the opportunity the forum provides for networking with their peers from across the Cotton Belt.



High Plains Ag Conference Scheduled for

December 12 in Lubbock

Monday, December 1, 2014   By Steve Byrns, AgriLife TODAY

      The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will conduct the annual High Plains Ag Conference from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12, at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 1102 E. Farm-to-Market Road 1294, just north of Lubbock.

      "This program will cover a wide spectrum of topics of interest to our region's agricultural producers while offering them the opportunity to earn a hefty handful of Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units," said Robert Scott, AgriLife Extension agent in Lubbock County.

      "Topics this year will range from cattle parasites to vineyard management, and, as has become our tradition, we'll also provide a lunch as part of the preregistration fee."

      Individual preregistration is $35 by Dec. 10 and $45 thereafter and at the door, with no lunch guarantee. For more information, contact Scott at 806-775-1680 or rj-scott@tamu.edu.

      Five continuing education units – one integrated pest management, one laws and regulations and three general – will be offered.

      All the scheduled speakers except Dr. Ted McCollum, are AgriLife Extension personnel headquartered at Lubbock. McCollum is the AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist at Amarillo.

      Topics and presenters will include:

      – Beef Cattle Internal and External Parasite Control, McCollum.

      – Grape Vineyard Management, Dr. Ed Hellman, viticulturist.

      – New Systems Technology for Weed Resistance, Dr. Mark Kelley, agronomist.

      – Exploring the Benefits of a Cover Crop, Dr. Calvin Trostle, agronomist.

      – 2015 Program Updates, Scott, Dr. Mark Brown, county agent and Vikram Baliga, county horticulturist.

      – Managing Pigweed Resistance, Dr. Peter Dotray, weed specialist.

      – Pesticide Laws and Regulations, speaker to be announced.

      – Farm Bill Update, Dr. Jackie Smith, economist.