Cotton still has some catching up to do in the South Plains and Rolling Plains of Texas.
Widespread, persistent rainfall at planting time put the crop behind early and cotton has struggled to catch up on the two-to four-week delay, and may not, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agronomist Mark Kelley, Lubbock.
“You can almost hear the cotton growing out there, it’s looking so good,” Kelley said.
Recent high temperatures have been perfect for cotton, he added, and the conditions that delayed planting early, plus some July rain, at least put some much-needed moisture in the soil.
Kelley is optimistic about crop prospects but doesn’t expect cotton to make up all the lost time. A new, strong El Niño could mean a short harvest season.
In the upper Gulf Coast, Brazos Valley and Blacklands, the situation isn’t quite as rosy, said Dr. Gaylon Morgan, AgriLife Extension state cotton specialist, College Station.
“We kind of had the worst case scenario,” Morgan said. “It was so wet early, and then turned off so dry. So the plants didn’t have the chance to develop a good root system.”