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Texas High Plains Planting Conditions – May 20, 2024

By May 28th, 2024No Comments

By Ken Legé, Texas A&M AgriLife Cotton Extension Specialist for the Lubbock Center

Everyone watched the radar and mesonet closely last weekend in hopes of widespread rainfall of significant amounts.  A few fortunate areas did, in fact, receive that; however, coverage was much more spotty than the radar indicated.  That said, it gave the NM/TX state line area (e.g., Gaines, Yoakum, Cochran, Bailey counties) its first real precipitation event of the season.  Most of the region took advantage of the badly-needed moisture, with planters beginning to run as soon as Tuesday last week.  From that point, significant acreage was planted with fair to excellent soil moisture conditions.  With the temperatures that followed, cotton planted last week should face very favorable emergence conditions.  Some areas received rainfall mid-week that may have caused some crusting that will likely require some scratching to aid emergence.

Our program has been extremely busy planting the Southern High Plains Replicated Agronomic Cotton Evaluations (RACE trials).  We have a total of 19 sites planned, and we planted 5 sites last week, putting us just a little over 25% completed.  Commercial acreage in the Southern High Plains planting is a little ahead of that percentage….perhaps as high as 30-35%, from my observations.

Here are some highlights from this week’s planting conditions forecasts:

Texas Panhandle

  • Hot conditions today bring some relief mid-week, but there is also some wind to contend with.  By the weekend, average temperatures return.  Some rain chances are forecast early next week, which I hope turn into reality, as we will need it by then.
  • Soil temperatures are of less concern, with the West Texas Mesonet showing most stations in the mid-70s.
  • Soil moisture is the key, especially with warm air temps and wind early this week.  The seedbed can lose moisture quickly, so perhaps setting the planter one notch deeper may be a good idea to keep the seed in moisture.

Click on the image above to download the PDF.

Southern High Plains

  • Very hot temperatures are forecasted, especially for Lubbock-southward.  These air temps plus wind early in the week could very well push evapotranspiration (ET) levels over 0.5” per day, which is significantly higher than normal for this time of year.  Closely monitor seeding depth, and consider placing the seed a little deeper to make certain it remains in moisture during germination.
  • Soil temperatures are of less concern, with the West Texas Mesonet showing mid-70s to mid-80s at the 8” depth.
  • Our next rain chance is forecast early next week.  We will need another planting rain to complete the 2024 planting season.

Click on the image above to download the PDF.

If you want your specific location (down to the field level), you can access your own tailored planting conditions forecast on demand with a calculator from North Carolina State University.  Go to:  The map will default to a location in NC, but you can scroll the map to your specific location and click on a field.  Click ‘submit’ and the tool will provide a 2-day planting conditions forecast with commentary.

Another good resource for near-term and extended weather outlooks focused on cotton can be found at Cotton Cultivated, developed by Cotton, Inc.:  That website also has other very good sources of information on all-things cotton.