- INDUSTRY COMMENTS
How would you evaluate the weather patterns that have occurred across
the Cotton Belt this year?
I can’t complain too much about the weather in California this year. We have about 98 percent of our snowpack, and it’s been a pretty normal water year. Our problems out here are strictly political with regard to our ability to have access to water. Don’t get me wrong. I keep up with what is happening in other regions of the Belt, and I know it’s been dry in Texas and raining a lot in the Mid-South and Southeast.
Every year we always say that we’ve never seen a year like this, and then the next year we say it again. When you look back over the course of time, there’s only one thing that stays consistent. A stalk of cotton is a very resilient plant, and it can live through dry or wet weather, and we still have an opportunity to make a good crop. That’s what I have confidence in as we deal with this year’s weather patterns.
It’s definitely a different weather situation this year. In previous seasons, you might have one area that experienced unusual weather with drought or untimely rains. This year, it seems to be wet across most of the Mid-South and Southeast, and, of course, it’s dry in Texas. The widespread nature of this rainfall is what seems so different. The replant issue is a huge deal for farmers, and that is complicating their overall costs. A lot of farmers already had corn out there, and now their options are limited. The decisions are numerous. It boils down to when can the farmer get back into the field?
This has been a different kind of year because of the rain. I can remember last year when we didn’t get planted in northeast Arkansas until around May 20, and the fields were wet. This year, it’s tougher because of the standing water. It’s a more difficult situation. Obviously, this kind of weather puts us behind on everything, but we’ve still got a chance at a crop. We just can’t stub our toe and make the wrong decisions the rest of the way.
Last year we didn’t plant until May 20, and it was because of the wet conditions, and we wound up making one of our best crops. I’ve seen this happen before, so it’s not a surprise to be planting late and dealing with wet conditions. In fact, one year we went as late as May 31 when we planted. We use the word “normal” a lot in discussing these situations, but what is normal? It means different things to different people. I really don’t know what normal weather is. We just deal with the situation and do the best we can.