The most hazardous part of harvest time is when you have to move your equipment using local roadways. For growers, remember that it is your duty, and the law, to have a slow moving vehicle triangle on each piece of equipment that will be traveling on a road. If you are moving equipment at night, you must also have functioning headlights and flashing caution lights but do not use rear work lights or spot lights as this may confuse traffic approaching from the rear. For rural citizens, remember that most farm equipment will be traveling at speeds less than 25 MPH on the road. This means you will approach the equipment faster than a normal vehicle. Remember that farmers moving equipment from field to field on the roadways is no different than you going from your house to the office, growers are just trying to go to work and make a living as well.
Visit the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety for more information.
USDA collects and publishes weekly data on the condition of the cotton crop. The condition is broken into five categories from very poor to excellent. According to this data, it appears that the summer drought and excessive heat has had a larger impact on the condition of the cotton crop than Hurricane Hermine. Since the end of May we have seen a steady decline in the cotton crop ratings for the top three categories – good, fair, and excellent; with these categories combined at 97% in the beginning of the season and remaining above 90% until last week of July. Prior to Hurricane Hermine the crop stood at 87% in the good or better categories; after the hurricane we only lost two percentage points down to 85% with 15% of the crop now rated poor or very poor. The green vertical line in the graph below indicates Hermine’s landfall week. You can see that the numbers have only moved slightly since then as the ‘good’ percentages were falling and the ‘poor’ percentages were already rising prior to the hurricane.
One should note that the percentage of ‘poor’ (yellow line) and the percentage of ‘very poor’ (dark blue line) have risen throughout the season at the expense of the ‘good’ category (grey line). Both ‘excellent’ (light blue) and ‘fair’ (orange) have remaining almost constant throughout the season.
To learn more about this and many other cotton topics visit our website at http://www.GeorgiaCottonCommission.org.
The recent UGA Cotton and Peanut Field Day was held on Sept. 7th in Tifton. This event, co-sponsored by the GA Cotton Commission and the GA Peanut Commission, is a great way for producers to see exactly how their checkoff dollars are spent on research that has a direct effect on the producer’s farming operation and thereby the producer’s profitability. At the field day we also saw and discussed some of the crop damage from Hurricane Hermine. This damage mirrored what has been seen across most of south central and southeast GA, the areas that received most of the high winds and heavy rains. Statewide damage to the cotton crop seems to be minor from Hermine but there are localized spots that received heavy damage that will affect yield. UGA has several resources for growers to keep track of tropical storms and daily weather conditions in general. For the current weather in your area you can use GeorgiaWeather.net. For long term forecast and historical climate data go to GAclimate.org.
In other news. USDA-AMS released the “Cotton Varieties Planted 2016 Crop” report yesterday. Results indicate that Deltapine is still the largest cottonseed brand in the US with 33% of the market share. Americot is now #2 nationwide at 23%. The largest single variety planted was NG 3406B2XF at 12% nationwide.
In GA, Deltapine accounts for 70% of the varieties planted, with Phytogen second at 17%, Stoneville third at 7%, Americot fourth at 2.22% Cropland Genetics fifth at 2.11%, FiberMax sixth at 1.25%, and Dyna-Gro seventh at 0.58%. The largest single variety planted in GA for 2016 is DP 1538 B2XF at 21.28%; DP 1553 B2XF at 17.09% is the second, DP 1252 B2RF at 10.41% is the third, PHY 444 WRF at 8.56% is the fourth, and PHY 333 WRF at 6.02% is the fifth most popular variety in GA.
We previously discussed what producers and ginners can do to maintain contamination free cotton – for warehouse operators the main point is to keep the facility clean. This means that there should be no foreign materials such as plastic, rope, leather gloves, or things such as grease and oils in areas that could contaminate the bale. Make sure the warehouse floor is clean and that handling equipment is free of excess grease and oils that may contaminate the bales as they are moved. Be sure to use bale handling methods that do not result in damage to the bale packaging materials or lint. It is also a good idea to keep a “foreign materials watch list” posted in the warehouse and train all warehouse employees to identify and remove items that may contaminate cotton. For more information visit the National Cotton Council’s website “Guidelines for Cotton Warehouses” or our website at http://www.GeorgiaCottonCommission.org
A comprehensive list of links regarding cotton contamination can be found here.
Examples of contamination found in bales at a textile mill. Photo courtesy of NCC.
Moving bales from the gin to the warehouse.
In this week’s blog we want to list a few things that ginners can do to ensure contamination free cotton.
Growers and ginners need to ensure that they do not transport contaminates from the field to cotton gin. If contaminants to make it do the gin, gin employees need to ensure that these contaminants do not end up packaged with the lint inside the bale. Before ginning season begins, inspect the gin and gin yard to ensure that no foreign materials are present and that no excess oils and greases are present on the ginning equipment. Once ginning season begins, monitor the gin yard closely to ensure that windblown trash, such as plastic shopping bags, do not contaminate modules sitting on the yard. Also make sure that module covers and wraps are properly removed to ensure that the plastic is not torn into pieces that could contaminate the seed cotton. If contaminants are found at the gin, they must be completely removed as one piece of plastic going through a gin could easily contaminate many bales of cotton. (see below)
For more information, visit the National Cotton Councils website or our website at http://www.GeorgiaCottonCommission.org.
YouTube video: “Contamination Prevention this Harvest Season”
The UGA Cotton and Peanut Field Day will start at 8am on Sept. 7th at the UGA Gibbs Farm located on William Gibbs Road. After the field visits, we will move to the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village for a few indoor presentations and lunch. The field day is co-sponsored by both the Georgia Cotton Commission and the Georgia Peanut Commission. This field day will be a great chance for growers to learn first-hand about the research that their checkoff dollars are paying for. To RSVP call 386-3006, or visit our website at GeorgiaCottonCommission.org for more information.
Also, USDA recently released it updated cotton production numbers. For Georgia, they still have us at 1.3 million planted acres of cotton, which we feel is a little high, and an expected statewide yield of 967 pounds per acre, which we also feel may be an optimistic given the growing conditions this summer.(see table 10 in above link)
Nice pivot irrigating outside of Vienna, GA. (about one month ago)
Before harvest, such as when you are defoliating your fields, keep a watchful eye for things such as plastic shopping bags, irrigation drip tape, or plastic mulch. If you see these contaminates, please be sure to remove them from the fields as many of these contaminates are hard to see during harvest. During cotton harvest, be sure to not build a module or drop a round module in a portion of a field that may have contamination. Any foreign materials, such as plastics, that get trapped under a module usually end up making their way to gin once the module is picked up. Also during harvest, when you are servicing your equipment, be sure check for any small loose parts that may end up in the module and be sure not to over grease your equipment. Excess oils and greases can easily stain any lint that it comes in contact with. For more information on how to keep your cotton contamination free, visit our website at http://www.GeorgiaCottonCommission.org or click here.
What a grocery bag looks like after a picker/stripper runs over it. Shreds of white plastic are now likely in the module.
Be sure not to use module covers that are torn; this plastic can rip off and contaminate the whole module.
Photos courtesy of the National Cotton Council.
Recently, staff and board members from the Georgia Cotton Commission have attended several regional and national meetings in which cotton contamination was a topic of discussion. At both the Southern Cotton Growers mid-year meeting and the American Cotton Producers summer meeting, industry leaders reminded growers that US cotton has the best reputation in the world regarding contamination free cotton. In recent years though, several foreign textile mills have complained that they are starting to see some contamination in cotton coming from the US. These contaminates range from plastic twine and bale wrap to things like leather gloves. It takes everyone in the industry, from the grower to the ginner to the warehouseman, to insure that we keep our reputation of having contamination free cotton. In the next few weeks be on the lookout for more information on how to keep your cotton free of contaminates.
In other news, as we reported last week, one good rain good send the futures market down, and when the rains came, down it went. This week’s drop in the market seems to confirm how jittery traders are to the weather in cotton country. Despite the rainfall in West Texas and South GA over the past week, only at harvest will we be able to know if it did any good.
It is no secret that some early planted dryland cotton in Georgia has already cut-out, and you can easily see from the road how many dryland peanut fields have yet to lap the middle. Only time will tell how much these recent rains have helped this crop.
Most cotton analyst say that we are in a true “weather market” right now meaning that the daily impacts of weather across the cotton growing regions of the world have a daily impact on the current futures price of cotton. India and China are the two largest production regions in the world. In the U.S., West Texas and Georgia are the two largest cotton production regions and have only received limited amounts of rainfall this past month. If a much needed widespread rain event occurs across West Texas or South Georgia, there is a potential for the market to move back down. With the recent contract highs we’ve seen in this past week, we just want to remind growers to watch the market daily to insure that you do not miss out on these new market highs.
Below is the current drought monitor map for Georgia and Texas. For most farmers this is not news but 68% of Georgia is currently classified as “Abnormally Dry” or worse. Almost a third of the state (31%) is classified as “Severe Drought” or worse.
Drought Monitor for Georgia released August 4, 2016.
Drought Monitor for Texas released August 4, 2016.
We want to remind cotton growers that Friday, August 5th, is the deadline to sign up for the Cotton Ginning Cost-Share Program. The program is administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency and provides producers who grew cotton in 2015 with a one-time payment to help offset the cost of ginning cotton. Payments are made on a regional rate – the payment rate for Georgia is $47.44 per acre with a total payment cap of $40,000 per entity. This does not count against your normal $120,000 payment limit under the 2014 Farm Bill. Sign-up for the program started on June 20th and concludes Friday August 5th at your local FSA office. Producers will receive their payments within a couple of weeks of signing up for the program. We would also like to thank USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack for his work, as well as our congressional leaders, for providing this much needed assistance to the cotton industry.
For more information visit our website at www.GeorgiaCottonCommission.org