Drought adversely affecting cotton, high prices encouraging

Drought adversely affecting cotton, high prices encouraging

Posted: Updated:
LUBBOCK, Texas -

With drought conditions gripping the South Plains, the outlook for cotton is not great for this years crop.

"From a rainfall perspective it hasn't been ideal on the High Plains of Texas, really going back to last Fall up until planting time in the last three of four weeks," said Steve Verett, Executive VP for Plains Cotton Growers.

Year-to-date Lubbock is five inches below average rainfall. In the month of May, planting season, the region only received around an 1.25 inches, an inch below average. 

"There's a great bit of the dry land area around Lubbock that is either not received enough rain to even germinate the crop or for it to emerge or if it's received any rain, it's been only enough to germinate it and to sprout then ruin the seed but it still didn't emerge," Verett said.

The outlook is not much better for irrigated crops either.

"There was some irrigated crop that was able to get planted, got out, growing good and is looking good but that's not the majority of the land."

With the adverse conditions he said the region is likely to see an up tick in abandonment and more producers attempting to replant.

"If the weather forecast comes true for maybe the first of next week and we get some rain in there then there may be some people go out and maybe plant a late sorghum crop, sunflowers or something like that, or they may just be looking at planting some kind of cover on it and then waiting until next year to try and start over again next year."

It is not all bleak though. 

After last years low cotton prices, producers who are able to get a good crop will likely benefit from a strong market. Averages are settling in the mid 80s, up from the 70 cent mark this time last year.

"We're seeing prices certainly higher than we've seen them in several years. They're not astronomical, you know they ran up, December ran up about 90 cents but then it's come back down to the mid 80s which is better than what it's been in several years but quite honestly where it needs to be for farmers growing a normal crop for them to be in a position to be profitable."

Verett said he is confident those prices will hold given demand is on the rise, citing increased use in the oil and petroleum fields, China working its large stocks down to a more manageable level and the likelihood of a smaller Texas crop.

"World wide, you know, the demand is pretty much going to meet or exceed the expected world production. So anywhere, anytime you have that you tend to have rising prices."

He said a timely rain is important, specifically around the beginning of July and the middle of August if producers are going to be able to take advantage of those prices.

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