Lamb County producers switching from cotton, missed planting deadline because of constant rain

Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 9:08 PM CDT
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LAMB COUNTY, Texas (KCBD) - In Lubbock County, farmers are currently working hard to get cotton in the ground before the end of late planting Monday. Some producers on the South Plains are now looking at other commodities because that deadline has passed for them.

Plains Cotton Growers reports the planting deadline for Lamb, Bailey, Castro and Swisher counties was May 31. Farmers had until Wednesday to get cotton in the ground during late planting before losing 50% of their insurance coverage. That loss left many farmers like Ricky Yantis in Lamb County changing their routes.

“I was not able to plant it because it was wet, and it’s my choice to choose to go to a different crop for several reasons,” Yantis said.

Yantis was planning to plant more than 5,000 acres of cotton this year. With hail damaging 400 acres of what was in the ground, and heavy rain preventing planting in more than 500 acres, he has now nearly 1,000 acres of cotton.

“The ones I held off on were because of the availability of irrigation water or how big the lake on them was,” Yantis said.

In those acres he couldn’t get cotton in because of constant rain, he will now plant corn, milo and black-eyed peas. Yantis said since it’s not his usual crop he doesn’t have yields built up for insurance.

“So, the insurance coverage is not as good,” Yantis said.

Yantis also serves as the Lamb County farm bureau president. He said he’s not the only farmer there having to make a switch. Yantis said several are deciding to plant other commodities because of what could happen while it’s growing with less coverage.

“Your cotton doesn’t yield well, doesn’t grade well and your insurance coverage is just not there, but your expenses have been there all year long,” Yantis said.

As for the cotton infrastructure, Yantis said he doesn’t think it will suffer as much as last year because farmers in Lubbock, Cochran, Crosby, Hale, Hockley, Terry and Yoakum counties have until Monday for late planting. Farmers in Borden, Dawson, Garza, and Lynn counties have until Saturday for regular planting and seven days after that of late planting.

So, he said many producers across the South Plains still have time to get cotton in the ground before losing half of their coverage.