For some East-Central Texas cotton farmers after a choppy start and challenging growing season, it’s the quality, along with surprising yields, creating a sweet ending to what could have been a very bitter year.
\With every pass, and every turn, cotton harvest surprises the farmers. “I did not see this coming,” says an exuberant farmer while picking cotton. “I was completely blown away. Cotton is an amazing plant to grow, and it hides a lot of its secrets until you finally get the leaves off of it.
According to farmers, the season it started with planting conditions, which was unexpected. But soon after the plantation, the weather turned freezing. As if it was not enough rain started pouring substantially, drowning most of the field, leaving some patches with less water.
The going was not smooth even after the rains subsided as the weather became very hot. The relentless heat lasted all summer. College Station set a new record of 50 straight days of triple-digit heat, blowing past the previous record of 30 days. The daytime normal temperatures got up to 110 degrees. It was boiling.”
Even in the mornings when farmers walked out, it was like opening an oven. The cotton kind of never had a chance to relax at night, similar to what everybody else gets to do when they get home at night. That was one of the main struggles of farmers this year.
Piled on top of the temperatures was the fact this area also saw no rain during that time. That made keeping the crop irrigated a major hurdle. Large cracks in the field are a sign of just how dry it was in the area this year.
Ask any Texas farmer, and they’ll tell you 2023 was definitely a struggle growing cotton. With high heat and little rain, it was a lethal combination for some acres of cotton. That’s also what makes the harvest of some farmers such a surprise.
The yield was amazingly very high. Farmers who experienced this miracle admit that they were pessimistic even a few weeks before harvest, but after they defoliated the crop, that’s when this field revealed the truth.
“Whenever you get to strip it down and get all the leaves off of it and you get to start harvesting it, and you get to see the cotton, I was just blown away this year,” said one farmer. Most fields of cotton saw no rain once the bolls were open, which should produce a high-quality cotton crop this year.
The unpredictability of cotton has always been there. Most promising crops get destroyed by pests or unusual weather changes. But this time around in some parts of Texas even the worst weather could not prevent extraordinary harvest.