AUSTIN (KXAN) — State agriculture leaders said weeks of extreme heat on top of already tough drought conditions could yield less cotton for Texas farmers.
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service said conditions started out favorably when cotton was planted back in the spring.
Josh McGinty, an AgriLife Extension agronomist, said a wet spring overall gave plants the support they needed to root and thrive.
Since conditions have become considerably dry over the last three weeks, McGinty said, if more rain does not fall soon, plants that are already stressed will suffer even more.
“Vegetation is starting to burn up. If you can maintain sufficient moisture for plants then they can cool with transpiration from the leaves, but the problem I see with the heat is stress and the other problems like spider mites and aphids, and everything takes its toll,” McGinty said.
Local cotton farmers stay optimistic
At Waterloo Cotton Gin in Taylor, owner Clement Strmiska worked on his big-rig cotton hauler. The Texas sun beating down on him and the inner workings of the truck’s engine rumbling.
“It don’t matter how hot it is. We keep it going,” Strmska said.
Strmska said the sun has caused some concern for his cotton crops. The life-long farmer said plants are only becoming more heated as the summer months continue.
While he is watching his crops closely, Strmska said he’s not yet lost hope that relief could eventually come from above.
“We’re still optimistic things can turn around and we can have a really good cotton crop. It could go down downhill with every hot day and no rain,” Strmiska said.