Cotton yields showing promise for Big Country producers


ABILENE, Texas - The 2016-2017 cotton season is off to a promising start for Big Country producers, yields are showing above-average numbers for the first time since the drought in 2010.

Bryce Roda, a cotton producer and manager of Farmers Co-Op Gin in Anson, said he has his hands full now that harvest season is in full swing.

"Produces are doing really well," said Roda. "We're getting about 500 bales a day, hauling in about 40-50 modules a day."

A bale of cotton is about 500 pounds and can net around $350. A module of cotton is about 13-15 bales.

"Things are looking good, you know, in a normal year we'll do half-a-bale to three-quarters of a bale an acre," said Roda. "This year it's a bale to two bales an acre."

Even better news for producers is the strong quality and grade of the cotton this year. According to Kenny Day with the USDA cotton grading center in south Abilene, the overall quality of this year's crop is much better than it has been in years and is fetching a price that's up several cents per pound from past years.

Back in November, Day projected about 1.3 million bales of cotton would be graded at their facility. As of Monday, they've graded 900,000 bales and the projection has grown to 1.5 million bales. Day said the facility is running all day to keep up with the volume, compared to running two shifts per day in the start of the season.

Overall, the high yields and good quality of the cotton being harvested show promising signs of really putting some money back in the pockets of producers who have suffered low yields the past several years.

Steve Estes with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension of Jones County said the average consumer won't see much of a difference in the cost of cotton-based goods.

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