Weather damages crop in Southwest

Texas officials indicate severe weather affected more than 100,000. Hail, high winds and heavy rains destroyed fields in the High Plains and Edwards Plateau Regions.

Some growers had to wait until fields dried to finish planting. Other producers will replant some acreage lost to the storms.

Fields not destroyed by hail benefited from the rain. Officials list cotton in South and Central Texas as in mostly fair to good condition. Statewide, cotton condition was rated at 54 percent of normal compared with 62 percent last year.

Officials at Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., in Lubbock said USDA estimates put area losses at 27,000 to 39,000 acres lost to late May, and early June storms. Hail was reported as "streaky" but did significant damage where it hit.

Some losses resulted from washout and wet soils. Some cotton is apparently experiencing root rot.

Loss estimates for areas around PCG's 25 county area include: Hereford 4, 000 to 6,000 acres; south of Muleshoe 2,000 acres; Springlake/Earth 10,000 acres; Seminole area around 5,000 acres; Idalou/Acuff/Slaton about 8,000 acres. South of Idalou was hit hardest.

In the western part of PCG's area, Yoakum County suffered no hail damage, according to PCG reports, but they didn’t get much moisture either. In neighboring Terry and Gaines counties, the Cooperative Extension Agent estimates around 1,000 acres of cotton lost but says overall the area is "in pretty good shape."

Oklahoma cotton farmers missed most of the severe weather but suffer along with their Texas neighbors with what looks to be a spotty crop.

Oklahoma State University Extension cotton specialist J.C. Banks, at Altus, says conditions early “were nothing but dry, until last week (the first week of June). Now we are plenty wet.”

He said planting season was “plagued by very small showers, giving a false sense of security on moisture for planting. A lot of the seed had dried out, but recent rains brought it up. Problem areas show up where the seed swelled and then dried out. When we finally got enough moisture to germinate the seed, it had already run out of energy, and emergence has been a problem.

“I think we’ll keep most of our acreage, but stand and vigor is not what we would like.”

Banks said hail has not been much of a problem for most of the cotton-producing area. “Cold weather has been the culprit. After a few warm days, we’ll know where we are.”

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