The High Plains has finally recorded its first, widespread freeze, which will set the stage for producers to make their final push toward completing the 2021 harvest.
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According to reports gathered from around the area it appears the region is rapidly closing in on the finish line and could be as much as 75-80 percent finished by Thanksgiving. Favorable weather has been a primary reason for the rapid progress that growers achieved over the past few weeks.
Even though this most recent cold front dropped nighttime temperatures below freezing this week it did not bring a significant chance for rainfall that would slow harvest activities. Near-term forecasts indicate dry conditions through the Thanksgiving holiday which should allow producers to maintain a good pace.
With the rapid progress that is being made by producers in the field, area cotton gins are also running at a furious pace. The pace of the harvest and ginning is beginning to create some bottlenecks in regard to getting cotton classed as producers and area gins are reporting they are not getting grades back as quickly as they have in past years.
To address these concerns PCG and officials with USDA AMS’s Cotton Division have discussed the situation and alternatives are being weighed and implemented in an effort to relieve current backlogs and reduce the time between when a bale is ginned and when the producer receives the classing results.
Among the alternatives that are being considered is whether or not some of the workload at higher volume locations can be redirected to other cotton classing offices with less activity to return grades more readily.
“Producers need to receive grades in a timely manner, especially to be able to capture current strong market prices” stated PCG CEO Kody Bessent. “PCG will continue to work with local classing offices to address this concerning issue.”
Crop quality continues to be good overall, as the majority of bales classed to date continue to exhibit high quality attributes.
Perhaps the only disappointing results that can be dissected from the Lubbock and Lamesa Cotton Classing office reports to date at this point are that just under 23 percent of the bales classed at the Lubbock office and almost 11 percent of the bales classed in Lamesa are returning micronaire readings below 3.5, which is the bottom of the base range for micronaire.