By admin       2016-12-15

Wednesday 14, 2016 - The 2016 cotton crop was better than expected, producers in Runnels County say due to rains early in the spring and summer and again in the fall which helped make this crop a pretty good one, but delayed the harvest. Each year, between 50,000 and 60,000 acres of cotton is typically produced in Runnels County and about 200 pounds per acre is produced. "Overall we have a good crop," said Karin Kuykendall, executive director of the Southern Rolling Plains Cotton Growers Association. "We made a lot of cotton in October." She said Runnels and surrounding counties are looking good, but other counties, like Nolan, Mitchell and Scurry, have had some problems with their crops this year. Kuykendall, who also oversees the Rolling Plains Cotton Growers Association, said that in the 43 counties, which includes Runnels, about 1 million acres of cotton is planted annually. This year, the dry hot months of July and August were concerning she said. "But we got rains in October and that really helped this crop," she said. It is a bit unusual to see fields of un-harvested cotton in and around Runnels County in mid-December, but fall rains had an effect on the harvest. "The harvest is delayed because of the wet weather," said Dr. David Drake of the Texas AgriLife Extension office in San Angelo. "They (producers) were waiting as long as they could." Dr. Marvin Ensor, also of Texas A & M AgriLife Extension in San Angelo, explained that the weather was wet in the spring and early summer, then dry and then wet again in the fall. "Growing conditions varied," Ensor said. "But we're getting really good yields in places." But fields of unharvested cotton can be spotted throughout Runnels County, since producers don't like to harvest unless the conditions are just right - and even humidity affects the harvesting process. "We're running late on the harvest," said Justin Busenlehner, who farms about 2,100 acres of cotton in Runnels County with his brother Jodi. He said rains in August and November definitely affected the harvest. "Plus it was so wet in June," Busenlehner said. "But you're not going to hear anyone complaining about the rain." The ginning operations are running around the clock. Like the Kasberg Gin in Miles, where Max Kurley has been busy with customers from all over the area. "We are about 40 percent done," Kurley said. "And we are running 24-7." Kurley said he expects to be ginning into February. Runnels County Extension Agent Garrett Cline said he is hearing that the quality is good this year but that some producers are getting a higher leaf count. Cline said he is hearing the crop will be done by mid-February, but "that is if the weather holds up."

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