Q. How do you feel about how the 2010
cotton crop turned out?
A. It was a good cotton crop, but it probably
wasn’t as big as a lot of folks thought
it would be. Some people think it was the
cold spell that hurt us, and we certainly
had a lot of heat in August and September.
It pays to irrigate later in the year
and maybe only once every five years.
This would’ve been one of those years.
Q. Producers and ginners learn something
every year. What exactly did they
learn in 2010?
A. You can’t count your chickens until
the crop is in. That’s the best way I can
describe it. The hailstorm near Brownfield
proved that point. The cotton strippers
were parked at the end of the field ready
to go. The storm hit, and the next day the
cotton was gone...just like that. That’s
about as bad as it gets.
Q. How does the long-range weather
forecast look for this year?
A. We are awfully dry here on the High
Plains. However, I’d rather for it to be wet
in April and May instead of earlier in the
year. That’s the one variable we have in
Texas. We’re never quite sure about the
weather and how much moisture we’ll
receive. But, that’s just part of the deal
when you grow cotton in this state.
Q. How do you feel about the price
environment for cotton right now?
A. Cotton is still competing against $6
corn at this time. And, if our farmers have
the water, they’ll still plant a lot of corn.
However, I do think we’ll see an increase
in cotton acres in this part of the state,
and it’s all because of the attractive
prices. I really do think it would be great
if we saw farmers get back to that effective
corn-cotton rotation. It helps the
yields for both crops. The input costs for
corn are going to be high, and that might
convince some farmers to plant a little
dryland cotton this year. Also, some of
our continuous corn acreage might
decrease in 2011.
Q. What about the ability of Texas gins
to handle and process big crops?
A. With the gins we have now, we can
process a lot of cotton early and fast.
Between the gins I was associated with
last year, we processed more than
245,000 bales. We’re hoping for more
this year. We’re so optimistic up in
Moore County that we’re expanding that
gin. It’s a gamble, but if those farmers
want to plant cotton, we want it ginned in
a timely manner. We’re taking the risk
Q. How important is technology at the
A. We’re just like farmers. Our input costs
are increasing, and we have to balance
the money we spend on technology to get
us more output. That is the name of the
game. We can’t just sling out any kind of
cotton and put it into the bale. We have
to answer to the farmers and mills. I don’t
know of any gin that just sits back and
says “everything is great.” There is always
a new technology that can help us.
Q. What’s the take-away message for
A. You can’t stick your head in the sand
and keep on doing the same old thing.
You have to be willing to make changes. I
don’t know of any gin out there that isn’t
spending money to increase efficiency.
Q. What’s the mood of farmers in your
part of the High Plains?
A. I think everybody is pretty excited
about these prices, but a farmer still has
to be willing to step across that line and
make changes. I had a farmer who had
quit growing cotton for the last few years,
and he told me that he’d get back to cotton
“one of these days...maybe in another
year or two.” It concerned me to hear
him say that. I asked him who was going
to gin his cotton when he came back. He
quickly said, “You are.” I kidded with
him and said, “How is that going to happen
if everybody quits growing cotton?”