With only hours left on the clock before the region’s first final planting date comes to a close, it is apparent that thanks to Mother Nature, some growers will not have as many cotton acres as they had originally planned, especially in the northern part of the PCG service area.
Torrential rainfall and flooding washed out fields and roads in several counties earlier this week. Hail and high winds also impacted some acreage. Weather forecasts for the next 7 days show chances for additional rainfall, which would further hinder planting efforts, especially in the central parts of the PCG service area where the final planting date is Wednesday, June 5.
If the rain lets up and fields dry out, some growers may elect to plant into the 7-day late planting period, but others may choose to go with another crop altogether, such as grain sorghum, sunflowers, or corn. Several growers already have replanted cotton once due to hail and wind damage.
Further south and east, growers have a little more time – June 10 and off the Caprock, June 20 – but any additional rainfall will create challenges for them as well.
Eastern Lubbock and Crosby County took the brunt of the flooding earlier this week, with more than seven inches of rain falling in one afternoon in some areas.
In Spearman, PCG board member Quentin Shieldknight said his family planted 3,000 acres of irrigated cotton, and they likely will lose it all.
“We’ve had 16 inches of rain in a month – an inch away from our annual rainfall,” Shieldknight said, noting that hail has accompanied many of the rainfall events. “We’re seeing a lot of disease…just too much water for too long, and we can’t get the crop started. Even those who have had cotton up for a week or two…it’s starting to suffer.”
Another 4 to 6 inches of rain is in the forecast for the northern Panhandle in the next week, Shieldknight said.
“We’re just running out of time to get anything in,” he said. “We’re so unsure of what’s going to happen until it absolutely quits raining, so it’s hard to make a decision on what to do.
“My dad’s farmed here for 55 years and he’s never had (a spring) like this,” Shieldknight said.