SAN PATRICIO COUNTY, Texas — Nueces and San Patricio counties usually produce enough cotton that they are among the top 10 producers in the entire state. Sometimes they are right there at the the top nationally as well, and right now much of that product is headed to the cotton gin.
Mother Nature caused a number of headaches for Nueces County cotton farmers this year. Everything from the big freeze in February to all that rain that fell from late-May to late-July.
"Farmers are used to dealing with those types of challenges," Agriculture Extension Agent Bobby McCool said.
All of that water that pooled in the fields over the summer caused some of the crop to be lost. That's because the seeds either didn't germinate or the yield ended up very low; but in the sections of the fields that drained better, the crop looks great.
"Because we did have good soil moisture and ample rainfall, those upper ends of fields and higher typography fields are actually yielding considerably above average," McCool said.
And that part of the crop may help to keep the farmers out of the red this year.
"That's helping balance out the yield loss that we're seeing on the lower end of those fields," McCool said.
There are now thousands of cotton bales in San Patricio County, all from a very successful planting season according to McCool. He said about 85-percent of this year's cotton crop has been picked in San Patricio County. He estimates that some 230,000 bales are going to end up being produced. Those bales have been converted into huge modules of cotton which equal four and a half bales each.