Statewide and locally, cotton crop is better than last year [Corsicana Daily Sun, Texas]By Janet Jacobs, Corsicana Daily Sun, TexasMcClatchy-Tribune Information Services
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Good rains last spring mean a better cotton crop this fall, according to cotton professionals.
The cotton is better quality and there's more of it than last year, according to Ron Sullivan, gin manager at the Powell Gin.
Powell started ginning on August 27 and still has at least one more month of processing to go before the end of the season. Stripping the fields should be done in another two or three weeks.
"It's going pretty good so far," he said. "Prices could be better. They're not real bad, but they're not as good as they were last year."
Jeffrey Saunders, a Kerens cotton farmer, called it a fantastic year, especially when compared with 2011.
"It's 100 times better," he said. "We made 65 bales last year off 900 acres, and we've already pulled close to 400 bales off 400 acres this year, about a bale an acre."
The rich black soil of North Central Texas typically makes good cotton, the kind preferred for high-quality denim, but it's running above average this year, Saunders said.
"We probably would have had a magnificent crop if not for those 100-degree days in August," he said. "Some of the bolls are small, immature, so they burned up."
Statewide, the cotton crop is better than last year.
"We came through another dry year in the southwest, but it wasn't as bad as 2011," said John Robinson, with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. "Your corner of the state certainly got a lot more rain than in the prior year, but where it really counts in terms of cotton, where most of it is near Lubbock and the coastal bend, it was still pretty dry.
"That's done some damage. There will be some low yields and some cotton not harvested because there's not enough there. I've seen shredders taking out fields because the insurers evidently gave their blessing to take it all out."
Prices aren't very high, but Robinson said he thinks it could still go lower once the crop is in.
"If they (farmers) got a forward contract early in the year they would have secured a higher price than what we're looking at right now," Robinson said. "Prices are coming down. I think we may have a few more cents of weakening when all the uncertainty comes out. I don't see anything that would cause prices to rally."
He added that any sales are an improvement from last year's busts.
"Even if they're selling in the 60-cent range, they can pay off their loans. It's certainly not dollar cotton, but it's a useful thing," he said.
Janet Jacobs may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to "Soundoff" to this article? Email: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com
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