Delayed Harvest and Lower Yields in the High Plains

Cotton yields in the High Plains of Texas appear to be below expectations.

During the November 15 morning meeting of cotton stakeholders at Plains Cotton Growers (PCG) in Lubbock, discussion focused on the status of the year’s cotton harvest in the High Plains area.

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“Yields are 25-30% off the normal,” stated Mark Brown, Director of Field Services for PCG.

 Estimated to be 50-60% complete, harvest is resuming on the High Plains following rains in the past week. “Harvest is picking up,” stated Steve Verett, PCG Chief Executive Officer. “The hot summer has seriously affected this year’s crop.”

 The problem is directly related to hot temperatures and no rain in the late summer. Rain in August is crucial for the yield and quality of cotton. Hot weather will also impact irrigated cotton, resulting in lower yields.

 “Each additional inch of rain in August may help with as much as an additional 100 pounds of cotton,” stated Glen Ritchie, Chair of the Plant and Soil Science department at Texas Tech University.

The most recent USDA production estimate for the High Plains shows a reduction to 3.78 million bales.

Discussions also noted that the crop classed to date in the Lubbock classing office has shown minimal plastic contamination – a credit to the industry’s education efforts and a positive aspect for importing countries.