High Plains Cotton Harvest in High Gear

With high humidity levels putting a brake on cotton harvest recently, producers in the High Plains of Texas are going on high gear this week to harvest cotton. And, given the high expectation for yields, cotton harvest may continue till Christmas.

Stakeholders of the High Plains cotton industry gathered November 17 at Lubbock-based Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. (PCG), to talk about the harvest, yield and quality of the crop.


The moisture that delayed harvest was on the minds of many people. Producers are sensitive to humidity levels while harvesting, because it can impact the quality of cotton during the ginning process, said Seth Byrd, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension cotton specialist in Lubbock. On average, the harvest in the region has reached the one-third mark.

Variability in terms of yield and quality across the region is one to watch for this season.

Lubbock County has reached about 40% of its harvest total, and, north of Lubbock, harvest is around 25% complete, said Mark Brown, PCG Director of Field Services. Variability has been influenced by the late planting date well into June, he said.

While some producers felt the yield is not turning out to what they expected to start with, the High Plains will have a good crop. The November USDA puts the High Plains region’s production at 5.375 million bales.

In areas with timely rainfall and best growing conditions, dryland acres have been yielding 1.5 to 2 bales per acre, with irrigated fields making up to 4 bales per acre.

Two of the major cotton growing regions of the world – the High Plains of Texas and India – are both expected to have higher crop yields this season.