Cool, cloudy and wet weather combined to delay cotton maturity for the Texas Plains cotton crop.
“The big question is, what has this done to the ultimate maturity in the quality of the crop, especially in our northern territories,” says Steve Verett, Plains Cotton Growers executive vice president. “Especially, what’s going to be the effect on micronaire?” Micronaire is a vital measurement in determining how easily cotton fiber can be processed, and a primary factor in determining potential quality.
Another risk to quality this year, says Seth Byrd, is hardlock bolls. “We’ve seen this in years past, but certainly much more this year.” The reasons for the increase in hardlock bolls is twofold, he says: disease pressure that has been greatly increased this year by the wet, cloudy conditions, and weather in general — high humidity, rain, and cloudiness.
Recent forecasts call for warmer temperatures and more open conditions. Producers are preparing to apply or initiating harvest aid applications and getting ready to move harvesters in the field. That's when they will know how much, if any, damage resulted from the cool, wet fall.
Here are a few photos showing how the crop is progressing.