The Georgia Cotton Commission was sent up in our usual spot at the Sunbelt Ag Expo this year. We had many farmers stop by and several elected officials came by as well. Hearing from cotton farmers from across the Southeast has given us a better idea of how the cotton crop is progressing. As we reported before, most of the Georgia crop will be average or below average. Alabama farmers told us they are on track for a better than average year. The Carolinas though have suffered tremendously from Hurricane Matthew. Anecdotal evidence suggest total losses in many areas and over 50% yield loss in other areas of the Carolinas. East and Southeast Georgia cotton farmers have again told us there is a possibility of 50% lint loss in many fields in their area that were affected by Hurricane Matthew. Growers as far west as Pierce county have said the wind from Matthew blew down and twisted a lot of cotton in their county.
Please be sure to stay in good contact with your crop insurance agent for any claims, and your local USDA office will handle any disaster assistance if your county was given disaster declaration.
The GCC and Cotton Board exhibit at the Sunbelt Ag Expo.Our bales were again provided by Funston Gin, and we appreciate their cooperation with our exhibit.
Fortunately for the state’s crop as a whole, Hurricane Matthew only caused damage to the east and southeast corner of the state, but the areas that were affected appear to be heavily damaged. According to producers from the area, and from pictures posted on social media from growers fields in east Georgia, cotton losses range from 20-40% in some fields. Other fields retained their bolls but were blown over and twisted similar to what we reported happened in central-south Georgia after Hurricane Hermine a month ago. In other parts of the state we’ve heard from growers who have been affected by the drought and have experienced below average yields on what cotton has been ginned thus far. Because of these two hurricanes and the drought that preceded them, at best, we can expect a little less than average yield for the Georgia cotton crop as a whole.
GA Farm Monitor has an interview with David Cromley, Bulloch County cotton/peanut farmer and Bill Tyson, Bulloch County Extension Agent here.
GFB posted some pictures that tell the story best. The pictures below are from the GFB Facebook page. All photos below are courtesy of the Georgia Farm Bureau News.
The GA National Fair will be held from October 6th through the 16th in Perry. Inside the GA Grown Building at the fairgrounds you will find a display that features many of the commodities grown in GA, including cotton. Please take the time to visit this exhibit if you are at the fair and learn more about the people and places that make up the GA agricultural industry. Also, from October 18th through the 20th, we will have a tent set up at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie. Please stop by our tent, which is located just past the John Deere display, to learn about the latest happenings in the cotton industry and to pick up some educational materials. As usual, the Sunbelt Ag Expo will feature field demonstrations where you can see the latest production ag equipment in action. Please the take time, and encourage others to take the time, to visit the GA National Fair and Sunbelt Ag Expo this year to learn more about how GA produces some of the best food and fiber in the world.
Additional photo panels have been added at the cotton exhibit at the GA Grown Building. You may recognize some of these folks.
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.