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Agricultural News

Warm, Dry October Gins Up More Cotton Than Expected in Southwest Oklahoma

Tue, 06 Jan 2015 03:09:27 CST

Warm, Dry October Gins Up More Cotton Than Expected in Southwest Oklahoma Oklahoma's 2014 cotton crop is much better than what was predicted earlier this year. According to National Cotton Council harvest estimates, Oklahoma will gin 95,250 bales this year in comparison to only 55,000 bales ginned in 2013.

Harvey Schroeder, executive director of the Oklahoma Cotton Council, said September rains and a warm, dry October allowed the crop to mature to its full potential. Much of the crop's plants were loaded with green bolls which needed time to mature, he said. The "heat units" created by the warm, sunny October did a good job of bringing the crop to its potential, he said.

"Cotton is a very important crop for southwestern Oklahoma," Schroeder said. "But even more importantly, whether or not we have a good cotton crop has a ripple effect on the state's economy. If there isn't any cotton to harvest as we have seen recently due to the worst drought on record, no one buys new pickup trucks or tractors and home improvements are put on hold.
"We are really happy to see a good crop being harvested and ginned at the cotton gins in the area."

Jeannie Hileman, manager of the Carnegie Cooperative cotton gin, affirmed the economic point made by Schroeder. "Successful crops and harvests are important for Oklahoma agriculture's infrastructure," she said. "I am happy to know both dryland and irrigated cotton yields are been good. "We have just ginned 20,000 bales here at Carnegie. It is almost unheard of to gin 20,000 or more bales here this early before Christmas. I expect we will have a season total of 38,000 bales this year." Hileman said dryland cotton yields of a bale to a bale and a quarter to the acre have been reported to her. Irrigated cotton yields have really been good, she said. "Most of our irrigated cotton yields have been in excess of three and three quarter bales to the acre," she said. "There have been several fields of four bale to the acre irrigated cotton reported."

Brandon Varfner, manager of the Red River cotton gin owned by the Tillman Farmers Cooperative at Frederick, said his gin has processed 10,336 bales to date and he expects to gin over 20,000 bales for the 2014 season. "Most of our crop here in Tillman County has had a bale to the acre yields for dryland cotton and over three bales to the acre for irrigated cotton," Varner said.

A spokesman for the Humphreys cooperative gin southeast of Altus in Jackson County reported 10,826 bales of cotton have been ginned to date. Expectations are for the season's total to be in excess of 30,000 bales. Oklahoma's 2014 cotton season began with plenty of moisture allowing farmers to get their crop started in good shape. Predictions were optimistic for a record crop for the year. But an extended dry spell without rainfall in July and August caused a rapid depression in yield estimates for the crop.

Dryland cotton suffered from the summer dry spell more than irrigated cotton which was watered regularly. But Mother Nature turned on the water spigot with badly-needed showers in September. This badly needed rainfall was followed by the "Indian Summer" effect of warm, sunny weather which allowed boll-loaded cotton plants to fully mature. Farmers and cotton ginners are reaping the results of that good weather.

written by Vic Schoonover



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