Oklahoma Cotton Crop Looks PromisingThu, 10 Jul 2014 04:23:37 CDT
A little moisture has brought optimism to the state's cotton industry as we hit the middle of summertime 2014. Cotton acres have declined in recent years due to the ongoing drought. Oklahoma Cotton Council Executive Director Harvey Schroeder says this year there are approximately 280 thousand acres planted to cotton. Nationally cotton acres are up about nine percent. Schroeder estimates this year Oklahoma acres are up closer to 20 percent.
"That's good for the state, it's good for good for our infrastructure," Schroeder said. "Our infrastructure has suffered, we haven't had a crop, get the acres and our infrastructure is really hurt." Schroeder talked with Farm Director Ron Hays about the status of the 2014 cotton crop- and you can hear his comments by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
"We're hoping this year we will have a decent harvest that we can get some infrastructure gone through again and people's spirits lifted up," he said.
With good moisture in June this year's cotton crop is off to a good start.
"From what I have heard from everybody across the state so far they have an excellent stand," Schroeder said. "Stand is the first the thing you look for."
There is limited insect pressure from thrips. Schroeder says there is some grasshopper pressure from the insect moving out of ditches and pastures moving into cotton fields. Schroeder says farmers are starting to apply insecticides to take care of the insect pressure.
"We're seeing some cotton right now, that was earlier planted, that is coming up on pinhead square," Schroeder said. "That's a good sign."
"The later dryland cotton its going to be another month or so to reach pinhead square," Schroeder said. "When all that happens, if we're getting a little bit of moisture we have an opportunity to make a crop cause basically we're on what we call summer fallow ground, cause we didn't take one last year or the year before."
One disappointing is the limited amount of cotton being grown in Altus district. Schroeder says one-third of the state's cotton production comes out of Jackson county area.
He says outside growing areas with irrigated cotton has been averaging four bales per acre. He says if the region could return to more normal precipitation level, the water would return the lake and cotton production would come back to Jackson county and the state's overall cotton production would increase.
Prior to the drought Oklahoma was growing about 430 thousand acres, which is a large number in recent history. At one time there were over a million acres of cotton planted in Oklahoma before the Boll weevil took out those acres and it's been hard to rebuild those acres behind Boll weevil.
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