According to the OSU Southwest Oklahoma Research and Extension Center in Altus, the 2012 crop is definitely winding down. Jerry Goodson, Extension Assistant, reported that it has been another tough year in the Oklahoma cotton patch.
Two years of back-to-back droughts have wreaked havoc in Oklahoma, and considerable dryland acreage has once again failed. Irrigated yields are essentially a function of how much irrigation capacity was available to the crop, and application efficiency. Some high capacity center pivots and some drip irrigated fields have produced up to 3.5 bales/acre; whereas limited furrow irrigated fields have been closer to one bale/acre.
2012 is ending with over 90% of the state in the extreme/exceptional drought categories. Although weather prognosticators in the southern Great Plains are often wrong, they are indicating a continued run of dry conditions. Based on comments from state climatologists, 2012 may end up being the one of the warmest overall years on record. Cotton heat unit accumulation at Altus was 61, 14, 13, 8, and 14 percent above normal for the months of May, June, July, August and September. An early freeze/frost event on October 8 in western Oklahoma was a spoiler and likely terminated cotton fiber development in some later maturing fields. However, based on excellent September maturing weather, yield and quality were not devastated as would have occurred during a more normal year. On October 27, we had a killing freeze over much of the area. Producers were able to get winter wheat and cover crops established on the failed cotton acreage thanks to the late September rainfall (2.3 inches).
The bad news is that October (0.3) and November (0.4) rainfall at Altus produced a rather scant total of 0.7 inches. Normal rainfall for Altus for October (2.7), November (1.5) totals about 4.2 inches. Thus far, December has been pretty much a zero in terms of precipitation. January and February typically deliver about 2 inches. This has huge implications for our winter crops. We are looking forward to getting out of the drought, however, with the fizzling of the El Nino in the Pacific, everyone is looking to the skies hoping and praying for badly needed rainfall.
The Oklahoma cotton production is forecast at 150,000 480-pound bales, unchanged from last month but 72 percent above last year, according to the Oklahoma Crop Production report issued today by the USDA-NASS Oklahoma Field Office. Yield is expected to average 411 pounds per acre, down 186 pounds from 2011. There were 175,000 harvested acres.
The entire Oklahoma report can be view online at: www.nass.usda.gov/ok under “Recent Reports.” The national database, Quick Stats, and all USDA-NASS reports are available on the agency’s web site: www.nass.usda.gov. For more information on NASS surveys and reports, call the USDA-NASS Oklahoma Field Office at 800-525-9226.
USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service provides accurate, timely, useful and objective statistics in service to U.S. agriculture. The agency invites you to express your thoughts and provide occasional feedback on their products and services by joining a data user community. To join, sign in at http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/subscriptions and look for “NASS Data User Community.”