Lubbock gin seeing better results than 2022, but still reports worse-than-normal season

Published: Nov. 13, 2023 at 6:03 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 13, 2023 at 6:27 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Before the cotton ginning season started, gin managers expressed their concerns about it. Now, one manager is providing an update, saying 2023 is shaping up to be better than last year, but still not as well as they hoped.

The Lubbock Cotton Growers gin is in the peak of its season right now, and after another rough growing season the manager, Jerry Butman, said it is ginning less cotton than normal.

“We may gin 65 to 70,000 bales, and that’s not quite twice what we did last year,” Butman said.

Although it is not as bad as last year, Butman said it is still rough. He said a year with normal rainfall would bring them around 50,000 more bales. He adds what they are getting this year is only what was irrigated.

“We’re going to harvest 3 or 4 or 5% of dryland, the rest of it is going to be irrigated,” Butman said.

When the farmers struggle to grow a crop, Butman said the gins struggle to continue operating.

“We’re a volume business, and if you’re not ginning the volume of cotton that you normally gin, you’re going to be struggling,” Butman said.

For the rest of the season, Butman said his concern is if it rains anymore, it could delay harvest even further and make it hard on the gins.

“We don’t need harvest delayed prolonging our gin season, having to pay employees maybe when they’re not working makes it a little more difficult,” Butman said.

Butman adds they cannot cut back on workers either, because it takes the whole crew to keep it running.

“It’s hard when you’re ginning, you can’t really cut down on employees or really expenses this time of the year,” Butman said. “You’ve got to have people to run your facility and do the marketing for you and what not.”

So, Butman said multiple years of drought are hurting South Plains gins, because those operating cost are still high.

“When you can’t replace some of the income that you spent in an off season, two or three of the years it’s going to be detrimental to your business,” Butman said.

He expects Lubbock Cotton Growers will be ginning for another month.