Water Issues Often Leave Growers Feeling High and Dry

From Cotton Grower Magazine – July 2014

 

For cotton growers across the High Plains of Texas, the lingering drought has been all-encompassing. It changes the way they look at insurance. It disrupts alternative crop production and crop rotation. It has the ability to make dryland acres entirely barren. In many cases, irrigation isn’t enough.

Lubbock and surrounding communities typically average just over 19 inches of precipitation a year – already well under the averages for the rest of the state. So when yearly totals dwindle to only 12 inches, as they did in 2013 throughout much of the southwest Texas Panhandle and in portions of the southwest South Plains, agriculture is bound to suffer. In a state where an estimated 75 percent of cotton acreage is classified as rain-fed or limited irrigation, this is doubly true. Unfortunately, drought has been the norm in the region since 2011.

Many growers have developed their own responses for dealing with the problem. Dryland growers are often hesitant to sink large sums of resources into producing a crop that will likely never see the light of day. Producers with limited water have taken to letting half of an irrigated circle go fallow while doubling up the irrigation regime on the other half.

Real World Testing

Luckily, though, cotton companies and the research community have intensified their efforts on the issue. Based out of Plainview, TX, Bob Glodt has had a bird’s eye view of both the drought and the research efforts it has inspired over the past few seasons.

Glodt is the president of Agri-Search Research and Consulting, through which he conducts contract research work for several cotton seed companies. One such project he works on is a study he conducts with Monsanto on his 140-acre research farm.

“We’ve been doing these trials since 2006, I believe, and they are designed to evaluate the efficiency of various cotton varieties under different irrigation treatments,” Glodt says from the cab of his pickup truck one afternoon late in the 2013 growing season. “We have irrigated under four treatments – one was rain-fed, one was 30 percent of evapotranspiration or ET, one was on 60 percent ET and the other was at 90 percent ET.” Glodt explained that ET, put simply, is a measurement of the amount of water a plant receives.

The idea, as Glodt says, is to get a real world feel for how each of the varieties in the Deltapine portfolio will respond to various degrees of water. Deltapine can then take that data and match cotton producers with the right variety for the specific water scenario on their acreage.

“We have four and a half million acres of cotton on the Texas High Plains,” Glodt says. “All of that cotton does not have the same production capabilities in terms of the amount of irrigation water that can be applied to it.

“Even as little as eight or nine miles away in distance can be the difference between someone who can water at 30 percent ET and someone who can water at 60 or 70 percent ET.”

Seed companies haven’t always embraced this real world approach to water research and variety development. For years, companies developed their potential seed lines based largely on how they performed under ideal water scenarios.

“The companies would put them in areas where you got the maximum yields and maximum production values,” Glodt says. “In reality, those scenarios represented a very, very small slice of what the actual production capabilities were in most areas.”

Pages: 1 2

Topics: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Cotton Production Stories

Cotton Production

High Quality Cotton Pays Off for the U.S.

December 10, 2014

It’s time to face facts. Quality cotton – especially U.S. high quality cotton – is now driving world demand.

Planting

2015 Tennessee Cotton Variety Guide Available Online

December 16, 2014

The 2015 Tennessee Cotton Variety Guide is now available online.

Planting

2014 Mississippi Small Plot Trial Data Now Available

December 15, 2014

Data from the 2014 Mississippi Small Plot Cotton Official Variety Trial is now available through Mississippi State University.

Planting

AgriLife Extension’s On-Farm Cotton Variety Trial Data Available

November 26, 2014

The annual Replicated Agronomic Cotton Evaluation trial results for the South, East and Central Regions of Texas are now available from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

News

Registration Open for Cotton Incorporated Crop Management Seminar

October 21, 2014

Cotton Incorporated will conduct its 2014 Crop Management Seminar on November 12-13 at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center. And attendees can expect an economic and environmental focus on keeping cotton sustainable.

Harvest

Storms Shred Thousands of Cotton Acres in Arkansas

October 9, 2014

To date, Mother Nature has blessed the latter part of the cotton season – including early harvest – with favorable

Cotton Production

Updated Mid-South Defoliation Guide Now Available Online

September 16, 2014

With defoliation and harvest season nearing, the 2014 Mid-South Defoliation Guide has been updated and is ready for grower use.

Around The Gin

Product News

Deltapine Announces Class of 15 Cotton Varieties

December 16, 2014

Deltapine has announced two new high-yielding cotton varieties for its Class of 15, with several potential varieties awaiting regulatory approvals of the Bollgard II XtendFlex technologies.

Precision Technology

NORAC Hybrid Mode Receives U.S. and European Patent Approval

December 8, 2014

NORAC Systems International Inc.’s Hybrid Mode in-crop spraying feature has received patent approval in the U.S. and Europe.

Product News

Americot Adds Another High Yielder for 2015

November 24, 2014

Americot rode to success on the performance of two top varieties in 2014. For 2015, the company is adding another workhorse variety to the stable.

Product News

CROPLAN a Brand to Watch for 2015

November 21, 2014

Growers familiar with CROPLAN corn and soybean varieties in the South may want to keep an eye on the company’s cotton program, too.

Product News

Deltapine Focused on Raising the Yield Bar in 2015

November 17, 2014

No brand of cotton seed was planted on more acres in 2014 than Deltapine. So it stands to reason that the company’s variety researchers are preparing to introduce monumental changes to their seed lineup in 2015.

Product News

Growth Continues for Dyna-Gro and All-Tex

November 13, 2014

Crop Production Services has put a two brand approach in place for its Dyna-Gro and All-Tex brands of cotton. And their varieties are getting stronger each year.

Product News

PhytoGen Gaining Foothold in West Texas Market

November 12, 2014

In a year that saw PhytoGen introduce several new varieties to the Cotton Belt, an old standard once again stole the headlines as the company looks to gain more of the Southwest market.

Product News

Monsanto, Sumitomo and Valent Extend Crop Protection Partnership

November 10, 2014

Monsanto, Sumitomo Chemical and Valent U.S.A. have agreed to extend their strategic partnership in Monsanto’s Roundup Ready PLUS Crop Management Solutions platform for U.S. cotton and soybeans.

Latest News

Planting

2015 Tennessee Cotton Variety Guide Available Online

December 16, 2014

The 2015 Tennessee Cotton Variety Guide is now available online.

Planting

2014 Mississippi Small Plot Trial Data Now Available

December 15, 2014

Data from the 2014 Mississippi Small Plot Cotton Official Variety Trial is now available through Mississippi State University.

Cotton Production

High Quality Cotton Pays Off for the U.S.

December 10, 2014

It’s time to face facts. Quality cotton – especially U.S. high quality cotton – is now driving world demand.

Planting

AgriLife Extension’s On-Farm Cotton Variety Trial Data Available

November 26, 2014

The annual Replicated Agronomic Cotton Evaluation trial results for the South, East and Central Regions of Texas are now available from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

News

Registration Open for Cotton Incorporated Crop Management Seminar

October 21, 2014

Cotton Incorporated will conduct its 2014 Crop Management Seminar on November 12-13 at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center. And attendees can expect an economic and environmental focus on keeping cotton sustainable.

Harvest

Storms Shred Thousands of Cotton Acres in Arkansas

October 9, 2014

To date, Mother Nature has blessed the latter part of the cotton season – including early harvest – with favorable

Cotton Production

Updated Mid-South Defoliation Guide Now Available Online

September 16, 2014

With defoliation and harvest season nearing, the 2014 Mid-South Defoliation Guide has been updated and is ready for grower use.

Cotton Production

USDA Lowers U.S. Cotton Production and Export Estimates

September 11, 2014

Based on information contained in USDA’s September World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates Report, U.S. cotton production and exports for 2014 will both be down over earlier projections.

Cotton Production

Terminate Cotton Irrigation at First Cracked Boll

August 26, 2014

Darrin Dodds, Mississippi State Extension cotton specialist, says that when growers see the first cracked boll in their cotton fields, it’s time to terminate their irrigation program.

Cotton Production

Cotton Harvest Looking Good in Lower Rio Grande Valley

August 15, 2014

As cotton harvest begins in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, growers are optimistic that this year’s crop will help erase the disappointments of the last few growing seasons.

Cotton Production

NCC Commends Timely Implementation of STAX for Cotton

August 13, 2014

The National Cotton Council applauded the announcement that the Stacked Income Protection Plan – or STAX – will be available to upland cotton producers in 2015 through the federal crop insurance program.

Cotton Production

USDA Launches Website to Assist New Farmers and Ranchers

August 9, 2014

USDA has developed a New Farmer website as a resource to help guide the next generation of farmers through the challenges of starting and building a farming operation.

Cotton Production

Enrollment Opens for Cotton Transition Assistance Program

August 8, 2014

Cotton growers have from August 11 until October 7 to enroll for the Cotton Transition Assistance Program, an interim payment program created by the 2014 Farm Bill.

Cotton Production

Bolls Seen in Nearly Half of U.S. Crop; Overall Condition Remains Highly Favorable

July 28, 2014

The USDA Crop Progress report for July 27 shows squaring and boll set numbers on target with the five-year averages, and overall crop condition well above the same week last year.

Cotton Production

Crop Progress: Overall Condition Still Solid; Boll Set Numbers Jump

July 21, 2014

According to the July 20 USDA Crop Progress report, squaring and boll set numbers are now above the five-year averages for the date, and overall crop condition remains unchanged in the past week.