Clock ticking on replanting options for cotton farmers

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Updated: 7/10/2013 11:02 am
Mother Nature is unpredictable when it comes to when it's going to rain or how hot and dry it will be each summer. 

For local farmers this summer has been a rather difficult one with rain, hail, wind and dust all proving devastating to some crops. 

With some cotton crops lost local farmers are having to replant quickly and replanting cotton is really not an option at this point. 

"Your limited to more grain crops, it's really past the growing season for cotton," Jimmy Clark said. "So nearly have to go back to a grain crop or hay grazer type crop or something like that as an alternative crop. There's still a few people out planting today, in fact on my way in this morning I noticed there was a neighboring farm that was planting milo. Milo's really the only option if your going to grow a row crop, some of them are growing hay grazers for cattle feed, there's quite a need right now for cattle feed." 

"The window's even starting to close for grain sorghum," Dean Ethridge said. "So they're probably going to be looking at some kind of forage crop by the middle of this month. So it's going to be an interesting mix of crops it looks like this year." 

When comparing this year to some of the past seasons, Clark said the last few years have each had different factors that have effected the initial crops and replanting options. 

"2011 there wasn't any option because there wasn't any moisture at all to replant anything, in fact the primary crop didn't even come up and most of the rain didn't come until September. So there was not any replanting," Clark said. "Of course 2012, not a whole lot of replanting. This year there's been quite a bit because the rains came late and the cotton that came up, what little of it came up, we maybe lost it to wind or rain or hail or whatever adverse weather. It's been sort of a crazy year this year." 

Now even with going in and replanting there is always the risk another storm could come along and do some damage but Clark said that's a risk every farmer takes when they put a crop in the ground. 

"Mother Nature is probably one of our biggest enemies out here, because we always have to contend with drought and excessive rain and hail," Clark said. "Our annual rainfall out here is about 18 inches and it depends on which Wednesday night that comes, we may get it all one night."

When the fall rolls around and its time to harvest that's when we will know if the replanting worked and paid off in the end. 

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