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Cotton harvest begins amid pessimism about yields due to drought

Cotton harvest begins amid pessimism about yields due to drought
Posted at 9:29 PM, Jul 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-29 00:02:02-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Daniel Wendland planted around 2,200 acres of cotton this year on his various farms from Portland to Bayside.

He spent Thursday harvesting a large field just northeast of Gregory-Portland High School.

“This crop here is fair," Wendland said. "It’s a little below average."

Because of the continued drought, "below average" is better than the rest of his cotton crops — some of them doing so poorly, that crop insurance will have to make up for his losses.

It means after months and months of hard work and expenses, Wendland doesn't expect to turn a profit this year.

“I think with crop insurance and everything, we’re going to be right at break-even," he said.

Wendland's corn and sorghum crops are already harvested, and he says their yields were just 30 percent to 40 percent of what he normally sees.

The agent for neighboring Nueces County says farmers area-wide are having the same experiences.

“As far as grain sorghum and corn, both of those yields were down tremendously due to the drought," said Jaime Lopez, County Extension Agent of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Even though the cotton harvest is just beginning, Lopez expects below-average yields because of the lack of moisture.

Conditions are so bad right now, he thinks they could impact next year's crops if something doesn't change soon.

“Keep praying for the farmers," Lopez said. "Because at this point in time, we’ve got to get some rain to get back on track for next year. Everything that we do next year is depending on what happens here in the next six months."

Wendland is not optimistic.

Even if the area sees some rain, higher than normal prices for machinery, parts, fertilizer, and other farming needs have him hoping just to break even again.

“Next year, we see no possibility of profit at this point,” Wendland said.