In Jackson County, Lynn Scalf, manager of the Farmers Cooperative gin at Martha, reports he has two crews working 12 hour shifts back to back and a lot of cotton is being processed there.
"We have ginned 10,000 bales to date," he said. "We have been ginning for two and a half weeks now. We have about 180 cotton modules on the yard now, waiting to be ginned. We ginned 23,000 bales last year."
A module of cotton usually contains from 10 to 15 bales of raw cotton taken from the harvested and pressed into a module which is then placed on the edge of the field to be transported to the gin.
"As most people know, prices paid for cotton are really high this year," Scalf said. " I understand some was sold recently for $1.30 per pound. There is a high demand for US cotton around the world right now."
Cotton growers can sell their cotton immediately when it is ginned or they can choose to hold the cotton in their possession, depending on the price and whether or not they participate in cotton-marketing program handled by a larger cooperative representing their gin.
Many of the farmer-owned cooperatives in Oklahoma, North Texas and Kansas belong to the Plains Cotton Cooperarive Assn. in Lubbock, Tx., which sells cotton in a marketing pool to obtain the best price available.
Jay Cowart, PCCA director of warehouse operations, points out farmers make a personal choice in marketing their cotton.
This year, Cowart points out, is one of thse "once in a lifetime situations," when the amount of available cotton worldwide is very small and with a world economy beginning to regain itself, cotton demand is high. .
"Typically," Cowart said, "the cooperative will spread out cotton sales to get the best prices they can. Around one third will be sold preharvest, another one third during the harvest and the final one third will be sold after the harvest each year.
"Cotton is sold at a price above the government loan value for the crop Farmers have the choice to sell their cotton individually or let the cooperative sell it. The loan rate now is around 52.40 cents per pound. If farmers sold some of their cotton before harvest, they probably received 12 cents per pound over loan value for it. Currently, with the high prices being paid, they would be receiving 55 cents per pound over loan value.'
Whatever price farmers will receive for their cotton, Cowart says, the price they are paid will depend on the quality of their cotton. The better the quality grade of the cotton, the better the price, he says.
"If you and I have cotton which grades the same, we will receive the same price for it," he said. "Cotton mills demand cotton which has a long, strong fiber that will enable them to make top quality cloth."
Cotton yields so far this season have been very good. Scalf says the irrigated cotton his gin is averaging two to two and a half bales per acre, maybe not as good as 2009, but good yields anyhow.
Dryland cotton yields for farmers bringing cotton to the Martha gin have been really good, Scalf says, "In a lot of the area around here, dryland fields received timely rains giving farmers two bale per acre cotton."
An overview of other cotton gins now processing cotton shows the Tri-County Cooperative gin north of Chattanooga has ginned 1,250 bales to date with modules sitting on their yard and more cotton being harvested.
Humphreys Cooperative gin located north of Altus in Jackson County has ginned 11,000 bales to date with expectations of some 11,000 more to come with farmers harvesting cotton now.
Farther north at Clinton, the Midwest Farmers, Inc., gin has started ginning with 889 bales already processed, modules on the yard and farmers currently harvesting. The Farmers Cooperative Assn. gin at Butler in Custer County has ginned 480 bales to date and has more cotton coming in.
Harmon County Cooperative gin at Hollis, Ok., has ginned 5,800 bales with a yard of modules and more cotton being harvested.
Cotton harvest in Kansas is getting started with gins beginning to receive cotton.
TALKIN' COTTON is produced by NTOK Cotton, a cotton industry partnership which supports and encourages increased cotton production in the Rolling Plains of North Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. For more information on the cotton scene, contact ntokcotton.org and okiecotton.org. For questions or comments about Talkin' Cotton, contact email@example.com.