Reports show area cotton crop among state’s bestPublished 8:53am Friday, November 15, 2013
With the cotton season coming to a close, Dallas County is turning out to be one of many bright spots in Alabama.
Farmers have harvested approximately 80 percent of cotton in the county and yields are significantly above average, Autauga Quality Cotton Executive Vice President Jeff Thompson.
“We thought last year was good, but this year has been tremendous,” Thompson said. “We are seeing some outstanding yields in the area. Dallas County is by far the bright spot in Central Alabama.”
The success is due to bounty of rainfall during summer months, according to Don Moore, director of Auburn’s Prattville research unit.
Moore’s rain gauge in Prattville measured 5.6 inches of rain in June, 7.5 inches in July and 5.5 inches in August, which is above average for the area. Selma averages 4 to 5 inches during summer months.
But the rain wasn’t always on the farmers’ side.
Moore said spring rain caused farmers to split up planting, resulting in an early and late crop.
Fortunately, Tuesday and Wednesday dips below freezing aren’t likely to have a significant effect. If the cotton blossoms before the freeze, it can still be harvested, Moore said.
Central Alabama isn’t alone in its high cotton yields. Thompson said southern portions of the state also fared well.
“The crop down there was even later and they had more rain down,” he said. “But any area can pull it off, they can because of the long growing season.”
High cotton yields may not directly translate into profit because farmers sell cotton differently. Cotton can be sold after it is harvested or sold in the future on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Either way, Thompson said Central Alabama cotton farmers stand to make a nice profit from this year’s crop.
“We went into the season with price levels above normal, about 80 cents per pound,” he said. “Prices have gone down a bit in the past few weeks, but it’s not bad. There are no two years alike in the cotton business, but these past two years have been great.”