The 2013 area cotton harvest is winding down, with farmers reporting good quality but low quantity because of the three-year-old drought.
Randy Boman, research director and cotton extension program leader for the Oklahoma State University Research and Extension Center south of Altus, said the harvest is nearing completion with around 120,000 harvested acres projected statewide. That’s less than the 200,000 acres indicated by the USDA-NASS crop production report released earlier this month. Boman said the 120,000 acres was computed following informal discussions with 14 operational cotton gins, and he attributes the reduction to the loss of many acres of irrigated cotton as a result of the Lugert-Altus Irrigation District not releasing water from Lake Altus-Lugert for the second consecutive year.
“At least we did have some decent weather these past few months, including rain and cooler-than-normal conditions in late July and a warm September, which benefited the crops planted following that July rain,” he said.
Boman said that although fewer acres of cotton were harvested, many producers reported record yields from the crops they did produce. Some growers in Jackson and Tillman counties have their own groundwater supplies and don’t rely on outside sources for water.
“They achieved these results despite the tough conditions,” he said.
Boman said the record yields achieved were the result of good crop varieties and the weather.