Monday, October 9, 2017

Six Months Later – It’s Finally Time to Pick Cotton

Sometimes it seems the time would never arrive for the cotton harvest. But cotton picking is in full swing.
 You can see harvesters criss-crossing fields, picking puffy white fiber from the cotton plants. You see cotton modules parked along the field margins and ready to be hauled to nearby gins.

Cotton harvesters are working around the clock.
CreThroughout the month, crews will be working around the clock, seven days a week to beat the chance of inclement weather playing havoc with growers.

You have to go back to April when growers planted the seeds for this year’s crop. Then it takes about 180 to 200 days to reach full maturity and become ready for harvest in October. Of course, the timing of the harvest varies from locale to locale. A few growers got an early jump and started harvesting in late September, says field scout Damien Jelen. But October is the big month.

It has been a fairly normal season for cotton. While water is always a constant worry, supplies seem to be plentiful for irrigation. That is a welcome relief after five years of drought.

 Growers responded to the wet year by boosting cotton acreage this season.

Growers planted more cotton this season compared to 2016.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast a nice bump up in California cotton production this year. The upland/acala cotton harvest is estimated at 90,000 acres, up 45.2 percent from 62,000 in 2016.

For high-quality pima cotton, the USDA predicts 208,000 acres will be harvested in 2017, a 32.5 percent increase from 154,000 acres last year. California continues to dominate the Pima market, planting 85 percent of the variety in the United States.
Speaking of harvest, the Sustainable Cotton Project’s Annual Cotton Tour is coming up. The event provides a unique opportunity to get an inside look at cotton production – from the field to the gin. Set for Tuesday, October 24, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the cost is $40 a person, which covers bus transportation and lunch at the Cardella Winery in Mendota. For more information or to register go to the following link:

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