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Cotton News

April 22, 2022

By April 22, 2022No Comments
Western Caucus Visits West Texas

LtoR: Martin Stoerner, PCG President, Walt Hagood, Noureddine Abidi, Ph.D., Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), Fred Keller (R-Pa.), Jodey Arrington (R-Texas), Ronny Jackson (R-Texas), Tracey Mann (R-Kan.), Jason Smith (R-Mo.), Michelle Fischbach (R-Minn.), Mike Conaway and Eric Hequet, Ph.D.

Western Caucus Visits West Texas

PCG CEO Kody Bessent educates Western Caucus on High Plains cotton fiber quality

Plains Cotton Growers Inc. CEO Kody Bessent assisted in explaining fiber quality of High Plains cotton.

Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Texas) hosted members of the Congressional Western Caucus Wednesday, showcasing West Texas as the nation’s leading region for agriculture/energy production, education, and research and development.

While touring Texas Tech University (TTU), the caucus visited the TTU Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute (FBRI), learning about research dedicated to improving cotton quality and U.S. textile production. 

The FBRI serves the research needs of university researchers, cotton breeders, public agencies and textile manufacturers as an international leader in enhancing fiber quality.

Eric Hequet, Ph.D., Paul Whitfield Horn Distinguished Professor at FBRI, took the caucus on a tour of the institute showcasing the production and manufacturing of textiles from gin to mill. 

Throughout the tour, congressional members asked questions and explored opportunities for the U.S. to manufacture high-quality textiles.

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Research Highlight

Root-knot nematode

Root-knot nematode. Photo Credit: AgFax

High Plains cotton producers battle drought, wind, wildfires and more when it comes to bringing in good yields. However, weather conditions aren’t the only threat to cotton crops.  Terry Wheeler, Ph.D., professor of plant pathology at Texas A&M AgriLife Research, has dedicated the majority of her career to combating roundworms, (nematodes) in cotton crops. Her work is supported by the Plains Cotton Improvement Program.

Q: What types of nematodes are primarily present on the High Plains?

A: Root-knot nematodes have been in the High Plains region for a long time. Gaines County and Terry County have the largest number of cases of these pests. Root-knot nematodes prefer a sandy soil — they move from the soil into the root system of the plant. They feed off the nutrients of the plant and grow very large (for a plant parasitic nematode) affecting the vascular system of the plant. Most nutrients and water go to the nematodes in this case rather than the plant, which negatively impacts yield by roughly 25%.

Reniform nematodes are newer to the region, discovered in the early 1980s. While we don’t quite understand why the damage is so severe with reniform nematode, we do know that reniform nematode is lethal to plants causing upward of 70% yield loss on average. These nematodes are found primarily in Lynn County, and have spread into surrounding areas.

Q: How do you control nematode infestation?

A: Nematodes are a long-term problem. There are multiple things you can try, but they might not be feasible for every operation. You can rotate another crop in to prevent an escalation of the nematodes, but peanuts are about the only crop you can rotate with for root-knot nematode, — other than that, it’s best to leave it fallow ground. With reniform nematode, sorghum and corn are also rotational options.

There are several chemical control options; however, I don’t recommend chemical control this season in the current climate. These chemicals need to be watered in well and while chemical control was a great option last year with all of the rains we received last spring, it’s probably not your best option this year.

The best option I’ve found through my research is to plant nematode-resistant seed varieties. You can significantly decrease nematode activity if using resistant varieties.

Q: When is a nematode infestation the most destructive?

A: Usually when you have root-knot nematodes in combination with Fusarium wilt, you’re looking at more than 75% to 80% yield loss because you can lose 75% to 80% of your stand in a severe infestation. We have yet to find a way to treat or prevent Fusarium wilt effectively, though some varieties are less susceptible to Fusarium wilt. This disease prefers a relatively warm spring season and spring rain. There also needs to be a good number of both root-knot nematodes and the Fusarium wilt fungus present in the field as well. Basically, the two together create a perfect storm of ultimate yield loss. Root-knot nematodes tend to be present every year on some level, but Fusarium wilt is more sporadic and difficult to predict. Fusarium wilt is present in all the counties where root-knot nematodes are problematic (Gaines, Terry, Lubbock, Lamb, Yoakum, Cochran and Hockley counties).

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New FSA State Executive Director Appointed

Kelly Adkins has been appointed FSA State Executive Director for Texas

A native of Haskell, TX, Adkins was raised on a small family farm in Haskell CountyKelly Adkins where he attended the local high school, and later, Texas Tech University. While at Texas Tech, Adkins worked at the Texas A&M Agricultural Research and Experiment Station where he gained a deeper knowledge of agriculture. Upon his graduation, Adkins took a position with the FSA. Kelly has enjoyed a long career serving the farmers and ranchers of Texas. He has held a variety of positions during his tenure at FSA including County Executive Director in Grimes and Randall Counties, District Director, TASCOE Director, Mediation Coordinator, and as a County Office Trainee Program Trainer and Instructor. Kelly currently lives in Canyon, TX and spends his time helping run a small farming/cattle operation in Randall County.

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2022 Upland Cotton Loan Chart Released

The United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency released the 2022-crop Upland Cotton Loan Premium and Discount tables on April 18th. The consistent theme we see in the charts this year, compared to the 2021 tables, are smaller premiums and also smaller discounts — especially in the White grades 11-41 and Staple lengths 34 and longer.

The revised premium and discount tables apply to the Base Loan rate for Upland cotton, which has also been announced and remains at 52 cents per pound for the 2022 crop.

The 2022 chart also adds to the increase in discounts for plastic contamination in the discount schedule for Extraneous Matter, specifically for Level One and Level Two Plastic, to reflect the market’s continued focus on this type of lint contamination.

When prices are high like they have been during the 2021-crop marketing year, premiums and discounts in the subsequent year’s loan table tend to move toward each other. The higher overall price for cotton makes the full application of discounts or premiums less critical in establishing the sale price.

As a result of this dynamic, Color/Leaf/Staple combinations that normally receive a discount will see slightly smaller markdowns under the 2022 loan chart compared to 2021. However, premium qualifying Color/Leaf/Staple combinations will be smaller in 2022.

As noted earlier, the 2022 premium and discount table for Extraneous Matter saw another significant increase in the discounts applied to bales identified as containing Plastic. Discounts for Plastic jumped the most — increasing to -4000 points for both Level One and Level Two plastic contamination.

Overall, the tables for other types of Extraneous Matter, Micronaire and Length Uniformity have mostly small five- to 10-point adjustments for 2022. The biggest change was in the Strength table where readings from 30 to 33.9 grams per tex (g/tex) will see smaller premiums and larger discounts.

Bales with Strength readings from 25.9 g/tex and below will receive significantly higher discounts with increases ranging from -100 to -140 points more than the previous year.

This is the second year the Upland Cotton Strength table includes significant changes as well. In 2021, growers saw higher discounts for Strength readings below 25.9 grams per tex. The discount for a Strength reading for the 24-24.9 and 25-25.9 ranges changed the most with an additional discount of 140 points, or 1.4 cents per pound, added to the existing discount level. In 2022, a similar level of change has been added again as the discounts for readings in the 24-24.9 and 25-25.9 ranges have been increased by 140 and 135 points, respectively. Discounts for lower Strength readings were also increased.

The following table provides comparisons between 2021 and 2022 loan values for White Grades 11-41 and Light Spot grades 12-42, Staple 34 through 38 and higher.

Complete 2022 Loan Premium and Discount tables and loan charts with calculated values based on the 2022 schedule of premiums and discounts will be posted on the Plains Cotton Growers website at: https://plainscotton.org/loan-charts

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