By admin       2017-07-06

For instance, in the Altus-Lugert Irrigation District in Jackson County, there should be enough water in Lake Altus to help growers there produce a crop. Altus Lake's conservation pool is 78 percent full and the wettest Oklahoma months of May and June could bring more rain.Jay Cowart, warehouse manager for the Plains Cotton Cooperative Association at Altus, said the USDA estimate for total acres of cotton to be planted in Oklahoma is 470,000.With the record wheat crops and low prices farmers have been experiencing, we will see a lot of new cotton producers this year," he said. "Many of these new cotton growers will be planting dryland cotton." Jeannie Hileman, who manages the Farmers Cooperative cotton gin at Carnegie, said while it is still too cold to be planting cotton, the outlook is a bright one."May 15 is the usual date for farmers to begin planting cotton around here," she said. "I think our growers will plant in excess of 50,000 acres of cotton this year." Brandon Varner, manager of the Tillman Producers Cooperative cotton gin at Frederick, agrees with all Hileman and Cowart have to say about the future of the 2017 cotton crop.We have plenty of soil moisture here," he said. "We expect to see a lot of new producers planting cotton. We predict a 40 percent increase in cotton acreage for the Red River cotton gin." Varner's charge, the Red River cotton gin, is south of Frederick in Tillman County in the heart of what is historically some of the best cotton-growing country in the Southern Plains.At Eldorado in far southwestern Jackson County, Barney Trammell manages the Farmers Cooperative, which consists of a cotton gin, wheat terminal and one of the "racetrack" rail systems where over 100 rail cars can be loaded with grain in six hours or less.We will see a 40 percent increase in cotton acres this year," he said. "In 2016, we ginned 70,000 bales and that was a record. This year, I believe we will gin at least 100,000 bales."Growing cotton, to quote Phil Whitworth, an old cotton hand, is no longer "your grandfather's crop." Whitworth works for the Producers Cotton Oil Mill at Altus.Like all other agricultural commodities, cotton production remains in a constant evolutionary process. Seeking to plant, grow and harvest the crop in the most efficient and cost-effective manner, what was considered the modern thing to do only a few years ago is no longer done.

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