Randy Boman Looks Back at 2014 Cotton CropWed, 28 Jan 2015 18:06:44 CST
After several consecutive tough years for cotton, Oklahoma farmers were pleasantly surprised with better than expected yields in 2014. Oklahoma State University Extension Cotton Specialist Randy Boman said the crop turned out better than expected due to beneficial rain in late May and timely rains in June and July. Even with limited rainfall in August, Boman said most of the acres in the Lugert-Altus Irrigation District were harvested.
"We kind of had a significant recovery in some areas, but again we were a bit disappointed because we were really set up to have a really nice crop, if we could of just gotten some timely rain in August," Boman said. "We could of knocked it out of the stadium in a lot of areas."
Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays covered the Red River Crops Conference in Childress, Texas, where he caught up with Boman. Click or tap on the LISTENBAR below to listen to the full interview.
Earlier this month, the US Department of Agriculture announced the state's cotton production forecast was estimated at 265,000 bales, up 72 percent from the previous year. Yields averaged 578 pounds per acre from 220,000 harvested acres. In working with farmers, Boman said the yields were highly variable ranging from 250 pounds per acre on the low end on up. Several cotton gins are still running. He has heard the Farmers Coop in Carnegie looks to set a record this year in receiving over 40,000 bales.
Looking at 2015, lower commodity prices across the board may have a bigger influence on planted acres than the lack of subsoil moisture. Boman said all commodities, including cotton, are seeing much lower prices. As farmers make their safety net selections through the Farm Bill, he thinks that will determine what and how many acres are planted to various crops. Boman said Mother Nature also needs to bring some moisture to replenish soil moisture, so cotton farmers can have a good year and Oklahoma can get back to producing 300,000 bales or more.
On a positive note, cotton growers will have some new tools available to them in 2015. Farmers will have some new technology to use this year with new seed varieties, new herbicides, along with new harvesting technology. Boman looks for the new module building picker and stripper from John Deere to make a big impact in cotton production. The latest equipment allows farmers to harvest the cotton crop with less machinery, less energy and fewer people He believes this could potentially influence what farmers plant in western Oklahoma. While it be a significant investment, Boman believes there will more demand for that machine, then what John Deere can produce.
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