With Texas still suffering from one of the worst droughts we've seen in years, it's pretty surprising that producers are able to make a crop at all. But what about growing the highest yields some farmers have ever seen? Jeff Brehmer with FiberMax cotton says the 2012 crop year turned out more One Ton Club members since they set the goal eight years ago.
"We're recognizing all of those growers who grow FiberMax cotton and grow more than 2,000 pounds to the acre," Brehmer said. "We're recognizing the largest group of One Ton Club growers since the inception in 2005."
In fact, more than 200 cotton producers reached that goal with last year's crop with over 100 farmers accomplishing the high yield for the first time ever.
"If you talk to a cotton grower 10-15 years ago, they would have set their expectations 2, 2.5, 3 bale cotton," Brehmer said. "So now we're talking 4 bale cotton, in fact it's more than 4 bales because it's 2,000 pounds and an average sized bale is 480 lbs."
The real surprise though is that exceptional yield doesn't seem to sacrifice fiber quality.
"We give out the highest yield, highest quality, and then the highest overall value which takes into account that yield and fiber quality," Brehmer said.
The genetics behind the cotton seed varieties are what's making the 4 bale to the acre cotton crop possible, plus some diligent and hopeful producers.
"We're seeing better water use efficiency in these new varieties and we're testing more varieties so we can track and have better predictability of what that water use efficiency is of the newer varieties," Brehmer said. "There's young and old. We've had some growers who for the first time growing cotton have made it into the One Ton Club. And then we've also got farmers who have grown cotton for 50 plus years and this is the pinnacle of their career and now we have the germ plasm and the management and they're putting it all together and are now growing more than 2,000 pounds to the acre."
Cotton producers that reached the FiberMax One Ton Club challenge were treated to a special banquet, won prizes ranging from leather jackets to coolers, to cotton towel sets and clothing, and even were entered to win a King Ranch edition Ford f-350. A one ton truck for one lucky One Ton Club member.