It would certainly be understandable if Texas ginners had lower expectations for 2012 after such a dropoff in cotton production in 2011. However, that isn’t the case, according to most ginning leaders in the state.
As the Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association prepares for its annual meeting and trade show on March 29-30 in Lubbock, there is a sense of anticipation that the new season will be better than 2011.
A record-breaking drought lowered cotton production in the state to around 3.5 million bales. TCGA executive vice president Tony Williams says that is the lowest production number for Texas since 1992.
“Even though the weather forecasters aren’t giving us a lot of promises for the new season, we are actually getting more rain right now than we normally receive,” says Williams.
“Some of our ginners feel more optimistic about 2012. Indications are that the weather won’t be as severe this year. Cotton prices aren’t as high as last year, but they are still good by historical standards.”
Although TCGA will concentrate on a theme of “High Tech In Texas” at this year’s annual meeting and trade show, it’s hard to ignore the cotton production dropoff last year, which amounted to a 50 to 60 percent decrease. The residual effect on other segments of the Texas cotton industry was significant, but Williams believes the state can survive and rebound.
Even if the La Niña weather pattern were to continue this year, Williams believes it is unlikely that the state would face consecutive seasons of record-breaking droughts.
“We’re going to stay optimistic that the drought trend won’t be as bad as last year,” he says.
While producers and ginners throughout the state monitor short and long-range weather forecasts, Williams says the theme of this year’s show is an appropriate one.
Even though most of the attention in recent years was about on-board module systems in cotton production, significant new technology is helping all gins become more efficient.
Today’s systems are providing information that helps ginners make quicker decisions to preserve cotton quality. Most of these new systems involve sensors embedded in the equipment that offer non-stop data during the ginning process.
Another feature of today’s ginning technology involves the use of smartphones that can be used to communicate with the gin.
“I don’t think these smartphone applications can control everything at the gin,” says Williams. “However, they can provide the gin with real-time information that allows for quick decisions and troubleshooting.”
Sensors can now monitor facets of ginning such as drying temperatures, shaft speeds, electrical output and lint cleaners, to name a few.
Williams recalls a ginning presentation he heard at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences last month in Orlando. This new technology involved a computer that had “facial recognition” for gin employees when they punched their time cards each day.
This technology allows for more efficiency in a gin worker’s daily attendance and performance on the job.
“The human element will always be a part of the equation,” says Williams. “However, you can’t always rely on the machines be-cause they can’t perform 100 percent of the tasks.”
As for this year’s trade show at the Lubbock Civic Center on March 29-30, it appears that all exhibitor space will be reserved.
Even with last year’s difficult drought season, Williams says most companies still feel the need to have exhibit space at the TCGA show.
“I can’t explain this kind of trend, but our exhibitors believe it’s important to be in Lubbock,” he says. “We’re looking forward to seeing all of our industry friends, and I’m anticipating a great event.”
Contact Tommy Horton at (901) 767-4020 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Go to www.tcga.org for more information.
TCGA Annual Meeting And Trade Show
• March 29-30 in Lubbock, Texas.
• Headquarters is Overton Hotel.
• Trade show in Lubbock Civic Center.
• Other events include TCGA Board meeting
and Plains Cotton Growers Annual Meeting.