September and October were both outstanding for cotton heat unit accumulation in Oklahoma. The fantastic finish allowed later planted cotton to reach an excellent level of maturity. Rainfall during the early parts of October, November and December resulted in some harvesting challenges, but overall, the dry periods during those months provided good harvesting conditions once the fields dried out.
Many producers have completed harvesting, and have moved on with tillage or other management concerns. The good news is that the 2016 crop is going to be an excellent one for producers and ginners in the state.
Based on a recent summary of 290,000 Oklahoma bales classed at the Abilene USDA-AMS Classing Office, color grades have been good to excellent with about 43% 11& 21, and about 37% 31 color. Leaf grades and overall distribution have been good, with 84% grades 1, 2 and 3, and an average of 2.8. Staple has averaged 36.6, with over 55% 37 or longer.
Some high micronaire has been noted with 12% above 5.0, but 86% has been in the 3.5-4.9 range. Fiber strength has averaged 30.7 g/tex, with about 80% 30 or higher. Uniformity is averaging 81.6%, and bark contamination is currently very low at only 5% of the bales.
Earlier harvested cotton has been very much dominated with picker harvesting, so that his likely a contributing factor to higher uniformity and reduced bark contamination.
As 2016 ended, based on what I’m told, many gins were reaching the halfway point on their ginning total estimates. If this holds, the state of Oklahoma could still reach the December NASS estimate of 565,000 bales, from 285,000 harvested acres, and would set the second consecutive year for record yield at 952 lbs/acre.
This would be the largest crop in terms of bale volume since 1949, but that crop was produced on 1.3 million harvested acres. Many Oklahoma producers are experiencing record yields in both dryland and irrigated fields, and 2016 will be a year for many to happily remember.
Along with the outstanding yields and quality that producers are experiencing, our on-farm variety trials will be setting records this year. Multiple new entries have performed extremely well, including those with XtendFlex and Enlist technologies. Several irrigated locations have entries that will exceed 4 bale/acre yields.
Producers should be aware that the Red River Crops Conference will be in Childress, TX on January 24 and 25, 2017. The first day is dedicated to cotton, and the second day is winter in-season crops and other summer crops. Now is the time for producers to do their homework and begin planning for the 2017 growing season, so please join us at the Red River Crops Conference.