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State climatologist: Rain forecast more a prelude than ‘true’ El Niño

The forecast of rains for Texas this week will be music to many farmers and ranchers ears, but the coming stormy weather is not the main El Niño event, according to a climatologist. It’s more like a prelude, said Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, state climatologist and Regents Professor at Texas A&M University, College Station. Texas is sure to get some rainfall, Nielsen-Gammon said. There’s an upper-level disturbance moving into the southwest, and a tropical cyclone in the Pacific off the coast of Mexico should feed some moisture into the state. Though El Niño may be contributing to the storms, it’s not the beginning of the main activity: the near-normal to wetter-than-normal fall and winter that climatologists are expecting. “Everything is impacted by El Niño in some way or another,” he said. “Some aspects of this weather pattern are consistent with what we expect with an El Niño. We have a fairly active subtropical jet stream developing, which is what brings the wet weather to Texas in the wintertime. The tropical cyclone activity over the eastern Pacific is also characteristic of El Niño.”But the coming wet weather doesn’t mean things have been normal so far, he said. At least 22 counties in Texas have received record low rainfall in the past 90 days. Rainfall the third week in October may help, but it is only expected to average about 2 inches statewide, which may not be enough to end the drought many parts of the state are experiencing. Read More »

A Look At China’s Cotton Consumption

Considerable ink has been dedicated to China’s cotton consumption for the 2015/16 marketing year and beyond. As the world’s driver of the cotton economy, however, there must be constant analysis. It’s too important a market to neglect or make faulty assumptions on. For this article, I’ve taken a look at the present research from several industry publications, notable market pundits as well as in-house sources. I will fuse together all the information while musing over consumption for the coming year and going forward. To begin, it is essential to have a firm understanding of why we are here. Cotton’s current doldrums began in 2010 when Upland prices reached $2 per pound. The world, including at the time the largest cotton-growing country, China, planted row to row cotton. By the time harvest had rolled around, prices, while still historically high, had ultimately moved lower, prompting the Chinese government to embark on a massive buying program of domestic cotton. Between 2011 and 2013, the Chinese government bought more than 60 million-plus bales with average prices of $1.40 per pound (and higher) and placed it in state reserve warehouses all across the country. Most of the accumulation was domestic cotton, but some imports were repackaged and delivered to the reserves due to the inflated prices. Read More »

It Was A Busy Summer For Cotton Field Days  

In the summer months, it’s always nice to travel to different locations in the Cotton Belt to see how the crop is progressing. But, for staying updated, you can’t underestimate the importance of attending field days sponsored by various ag companies. I wish I had my own private jet so that I could have traveled to all of the field days conducted from California to the Carolinas this summer, but I’ll keep dreaming about that option. Here are some highlights of the ones that I did attend here in the Mid-South. Thanks to all of the companies who sponsored these events. They were informative and showcased how ag companies are dedicated to keeping farmers and the media informed.The message from this event was quite simple. Effective nitrogen applications can have a significant impact on cotton, corn, canola, wheat, potatoes and forage crops. ESN uses a flexible polymer coating to encapsulate the N granule. The coating protects the N from loss mechanisms, releasing it when the crop needs it the most. The nitrogen can be applied in both the spring and fall, allowing the farmer to apply fertilizer for his specific schedule. What made this event impressive was the independent research conducted by Wayne Ebelhar and Bobby Golden at Mississippi State University’s Delta Research & Extension Center. That research supported much of the ESN information that was presented. Read More »

An Open Letter To U.S. Cotton Farmers

As a farmer, what’s most important to you? Sure, you want to make money and, sure, you want to provide for your family. You understand that. But what are you doing to understand your customers? You may say it doesn’t matter. I can always ship into the loan, and my co-op will handle it. My local pool worries about customers. Do you care about the market? What makes up your market? Your merchant or co-op help to make up your market, certainly. But what about their customers, the textile mills? What affects their market and how does that market matter to you? You may say, I’m a farmer, not a textile mill. But a textile mill will say, he is your customer: You will pay attention or he’ll buy from someone else. There’s a lot of cotton out there. Why? Because the mills have to pay attention to their customers. Read More »

Cotton Research at the Lubbock Research Megasite

Featured New Product Evaluator: Layne Chapman, from Vernon, Texas Research is instrumental to the future of cotton farming. Deltapine NPE Layne Chapman of Vernon, Texas, says that the Lubbock Research Megasite tests and develops new high-yielding varieties for Deltapine growers – especially those in tough climates. At the research facility, Chapman has seen how different amounts of water — measured ... Read More »

How Cotton Breeding Affects Farmers

Featured New Product Evaluator: Layne Chapman, from Vernon, Texas Deltapine continually researches, breeds and tests new cotton varieties that will help boost a farmer’s yield, no matter where they’re located. Deltapine NPE Layne Chapman of Vernon, Texas, says that he’s been proud to watch Deltapine’s cotton varieties evolve as climates, soils and pests change – especially when those varieties mean ... Read More »

Industry’s Emerging Leaders Exude Confidence

If you ever worried about the next generation of cotton industry leaders, you can relax. Maybe that’s an overly confident remark to make in 2015. However, based on what I recently observed at a media panel discussion with members of the new Emerging Leaders Class program, the future has never looked better. This program, now in its third year, is supported by a grant to The Cotton Foundation from Monsanto. The National Cotton Council (NCC) conducts the program’s activities, and the goal is to provide participants a better understanding of how the NCC carries out its mission. Members of this class will participate in three sessions during the next year. The first session involved media training in Memphis and a trip to Monsanto’s corporate headquarters in St. Louis. The second session will consist of a trip to the NCC’s Annual Meeting in February where class members will observe how the organization develops policy. The third session will involve a trip to Washington where the focus will be on policy implementation and international market development. Read More »