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Cotton Harvest Going On, Reaps Good, Bad Yields

A picker harvests cotton off a field just south of La Feria on FM 506. Photo: Tony Vindell/LFN

by Tony Vindell/LFN

The annual cotton harvesting has been going on in many parts of the Rio Grande Valley.

Some of the white stuff is still above the ground while only the stalks are what is left in a number of fields south of La Feria on FM 506.

A harvester was picking cotton in another field as a module builder stood by the side of the road waiting for the cotton that is transferred from the picker into a buggy.

Steve Wolf, a local grower, said his cotton fields are producing a near bumper crop yield of about six bales per acre.

“I thought it was not going to be a good crop considering the 14 inches of rain the area received in two days (in June),” he said, “but it turned out to be a pretty good crop.”

Others, however, were not that lucky.

Chris Perez, executive director with the USDA’s Farm Service Agency office in San Benito, said close to 40 percent of the cotton crop got ruined in Cameron County due to the rain.

He said some of that cotton was already done and the rains created new regrowth of plants not needed at the time.

He estimated that as many as 25,000 acres planted with cotton got ruined in the dry land and several thousand others in irrigated lands.

Cameron County farmers plant an average of 55,000 acres of cotton every year, a number that Perez said is average.

In Willacy County where a lot cotton is grown in the dryland, the damages were bigger.

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