Harvest continues across the Texas Panhandle


By Jennifer Whitlock

Farmers in the northern-most parts of Texas are finishing corn and sorghum harvest and preparing for cotton harvest.

In Ochiltree County, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent Scott Strawn said the 2021 Texas corn harvest is just about wrapped up. Despite some challenges at the start of the growing season, it was a pretty good year for farmers in the area.

“It’s been good. The yields on corn are very positive. We had some great May, June and July moisture at a critical time and temperatures were mild,” Strawn said in an interview with the Texas Farm Bureau Radio Network. “August was tough on us, but the corn crop was pretty far down the road at that point. Now, I’m just hearing some really good reports on corn.”

Many farmers in the northern Panhandle are bringing in yields of anywhere from 250-280 bushels of corn per acre—numbers they were glad to see following a drier growing season last year.

Sorghum crops across the region were mostly on track for a better year, too.

“Some of the earlier-planted sorghum is going to be good, but on that later-planted stuff, we just ran out of moisture in August,” he said. “So, it’s not as good as it could’ve been. But overall, sorghum is still looking pretty positive, too.”

Cotton crops had a bit of a rough start this year and remained about two weeks behind throughout most of the growing season.

But all’s well that ends well, according to Plains Cotton Growers Director of Field Services Mark Brown.

Warmer days throughout September and early October allowed the cotton to catch up on heat units, and most counties in the region have escaped freezing temperatures or late-season moisture that could damage the mature cotton bolls.

He noted the West Texas Mesonet did pick up some sub-freezing conditions around Muleshoe and higher elevations in mid-October, but overall, this month has been a nice finish for area cotton farmers.

“Even though we might’ve had some locations that had frost conditions or a light freeze, in general terms, we did avoid freeze conditions during early to mid-October,” Brown said. “I traveled up to Spearman, Pampa and Perryton areas, and their cotton is still in good shape.”

With cotton harvest in the early stages, it’s shaping up to be an exceptional year for Panhandle farmers.

“It’s very rare that you have good prices, and you also have good yields,” he said. “It appears that’s what we’re going to have on the Panhandle/Texas High Plains this year. So, we’re very blessed.”

Classing offices have been giving this year’s crop high marks, as well.

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