Drought decimates South Texas cotton crops
For the first time in over a century, a severe South Texas drought has claimed the entire cotton production of Kleberg County, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service personnel.
"For the first time since the founding of Kingsville in 1904, not a single pound of cotton was produced this year in Kleberg County, which includes the King Ranch, one of the area’s largest producers," said John Ford, an AgriLife Extension county agent for agriculture based in Kingsville.
Other Coastal Bend counties have not fared much better.
"Nueces County planted 124,000 acres of cotton and about 95 percent of that failed," said Jeff Stapper, an AgriLife Extension agent in Corpus Christi. "San Patricio County planted about 130,000 acres with a fail rate of more than 90 percent. Grain sorghum did only a little better."
Despite those losses, total Texas cotton production is on pace to be substantially larger than last year’s, according to the latest National Agricultural Statistics Service crop production report issued Aug. 13.
NASS reports that the 2009 Texas upland cotton crop is expected to weigh in 21 percent larger than last year’s crop with a total production of 5.4 million bales. Yield is projected to average 701 pounds per acre, compared with 657 pounds last year. Acreage expected for harvest is estimated at 3.7 million acres, up 14 percent from 2008.
Most of the increases will be realized in Panhandle cotton production. Those South Texas drought losses, however, will take their toll.
Ford said he and Dr. Larry Falconer, an AgriLife Extension economist in Corpus Christi, estimate the economic hit to Kleberg County alone at about $50 million.
"That’s not just lost crop revenue in cotton and grain sorghum," Ford said. "That includes money lost to motels that house the harvesting crews, labor costs at gins and grain elevators and other related losses."
Kleberg County normally produces between 30,000 and 40,000 acres of cotton and 40,000 to 45,000 acres of grain sorghum.
"The entire cotton acreage was zeroed-out," Ford said. "The county was able to carry about 3,000 acres of grain sorghum to harvest, so 37,000 acres of grain sorghum were also zeroed-out," he said.
Like many areas of South Texas, Ford said, Kleberg County has not seen significant, widespread rainfall in almost a year.
"From January to now, we’ve had about two inches of total rainfall," he said. "But in the crop year, from Sept. 1, 2008, to now, we’ve had under 5 inches. Normally in a 12-month period we’ll have 27 to 28 inches of rainfall."
Ford said local historians claim this is the worst drought they’ve ever seen.
"The drought of the 1950s has always been the severe-drought measuring stick around here," he said, "but the old-timers say this drought is much worse. It’s dry."
In late July, Texas AgriLife Extension Service economists reported that agricultural drought losses throughout the state had reached $3.6 billion and by the end of the year could exceed $4.1 billion.
Members of TFB’s Public Relations team recently joined journalists from around the world for a tour of Texas A&M’s bioenergy research facilities in College Station. The group was part of the Agricultural Media Summit, which teamed farm media personalities from across the country with members of the International Federation of Agriculture Journalists. The group held its annual meeting in Fort Worth and later split into smaller groups to embark on three separate tours across the Lone Star State—a West Texas tour through Amarillo and Lubbock, a South Texas tour through Corpus Christi and the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and a Central Texas tour through College Station and Austin.
TFB’s Farm Bureau Roundup celebrates 55th
Texas Farm Bureau Network’s Farm Bureau Roundup, a 15-minute weekly radio program, has been on the air for 55 years. To mark the occasion, Roundup hosts, producers and reporters—past and present—gathered in San Marcos on Aug. 7-9.
"They reminisced about the good old days, caught up on what has been going on since the last reunion five years ago, and looked ahead to the future for Roundup and the radio industry," said Tom Nicolette, TFB radio services director.
Retired TFB Public Relations Director Bill Hoover, who developed the idea for the program and became the show’s first writer and producer; and Roundup’s first host, Goodson McKee, were in attendance.
Hoover and McKee began the program in 1954 in a garage studio in Waco. Over five decades, Roundup has become the longest running weekly radio agricultural program in the nation.
Today, Farm Bureau Roundup is written, produced and hosted by TFB Network’s Don Kyser, who receives reports from farm broadcasters and contributors from across the state.
The digitally-produced program airs on 30 radio stations in Texas. Go to tfbradio.com for a complete listing of stations.
Farm Bureau Roundup.
TFB PR Director Gene Hall, above, is pictured with Goodson McKee and Bill Hoover, the original show host and creator of
Don Kyser, the current show host, visits with retired farm broadcaster Roddy Peeples.
Coleman Shooting Club members Nathan and Megan Taylor, Lachelle Rutledge, Magen Rutledge and Kaylee Needham blew away the competition at San Antonio’s 4-H Shooting Sports Games held in July. All are from Coleman CFB families.
Coleman CFB members’ kids rack up winsColeman Shooting Club was represented well at the Texas 4-H Shooting Sports Games which is held in San Antonio in July.
The event lasts six days and features the marksmanship talents of more than 800 young people from across the Lone Star State. They compete in five separate shooting disciplines, including archery, muz-zleloading, pistol, rifle and shotgun.
Members of the winning team are Lachelle Rutledge, Magen Rutledge, Kaylee Needham, and siblings, Megan and Nathan Taylor, children of Coleman CFB board member Ben Taylor. Megan, 10, brought home more than a dozen awards from the contest, while Nathan, 13, actually competed with a broken arm.
Awards were as follows:
Megan Taylor: 1st Smallbore Pistol - Metallic Sights
1st Hunting & Wildlife Live Fire Events
1st Cap & Ball Pistol 1st Muzzleloading Pistol
1st Air Pistol 2nd Air Pistol Silhouette - Metallic Sights 2nd Rapid Fire Air Pistol
3rd Field Archery - Compound Aided
3rd Air Rifle Silhouette - Metallic Sights
3rd 50 yd Muzzleloading Rifle
3rd Smallbore Pistol Silhouette - Metallic Sights
3rd Smallbore Hunter Pistol Silhouette Any Sight
4th 25 yd Muzzleloading Rifle Pistol Over All Iron Sights
High Over All Junior Silhouette
Iron Man Over All - Any Sights -
Runner Up Junior Rifle Silhouette Over All - Any Sights -
Runner Up Junior 2009 Charlie Greenway Award - trophy; presented for Overall Excellence In 4-H Shooting Sports Muzzleloading Events
Lachelle Rutledge: 1st Light Rifle - Metallic Sights
1st 25 yd Muzzleloading Rifle
2nd Smallbore Hunter Pistol Silhouette Any Sight
3rd CMP - Metallic Sights
Magen Rutledge: 2nd 25 yd Muzzleloading Rifle
Kaylee Needham: 1st Smallbore Hunter Pistol Silhouette
2nd Smallbore Rifle Silhouette
3rd Smallbore Pistol Silhouette