In looking back at the 2018 season, a multitude of adjectives come to mind that describe the weather and field conditions. Wet, hot, dry, windy, sunny, muddy — they ran the gamut this year. Some areas fared well, while others did not.
In Specialists Speaking, the state cotton specialists did a good job of recapping what they saw in their respective states in the Specialists Speaking remarks. For example, Florida cotton specialist David Wright says, “The cotton crop was split as about half of it was planted during early May and the other half in early June after a mid-May tropical storm caused wet conditions.
Hurricane Michael will be remembered for many years with 90 to 100 percent yield loss for defoliated cotton in the central part of the panhandle.”
In Missouri, cotton specialist Calvin Meeks says, “The cotton crop in Missouri is finishing up a year that looks to be one of the best ever with 92 percent of the crop harvested on Nov. 5. Our warm, sunny summer pushed the crop along. Even cotton I planted in June looks to yield well.”
Texas cotton specialist Gaylon Morgan says, “The South, East and Rolling Plains have been plagued since early September with consistent overcast skies and rain. The last of the Lower Rio Grande cotton was harvested in early November, two months behind normal. The Coastal Bend was able to get nearly all its cotton out.”
Out West, Arizona cotton specialist Randy Norton says, “Heat stress in the low desert during the last part of July and into early August has had an impact on the overall production of the central Arizona crop.” However, he goes on to say that “the eastern part of the state escaped much of the adverse weather and has experienced excellent yield and fiber quality.”
Arkansas cotton farmer Ramey Stiles, who is featured in the My Turn column this month, says, “This has been a tough fall. It reminds me of some we had back in the ’70s when many farmers had to leave their crops in the fields. There have been a lot of weather interruptions and muddy fields to deal with. I hope everybody is able to pull through and not let it get them down too badly.”
One thing is for sure. The 2018 season will be memorable for being all over the board in terms of the good, the bad and the ugly.
Perhaps Mississippi cotton specialist Darrin Dodds best sums up how to move forward. “The holiday season should remind us all we are truly blessed to live in the greatest country in the world and work in one of noblest professions on Earth,” he says.
Take time this winter to reflect, recharge and get ready to hit the field when the 2019 season starts to unfold. As Stiles says, “In the words coined by Cotton Incorporated, ‘Cotton is the fabric of our lives.’”