Texas High Plains planting conditions – final report

Cotton field harvest (Photo: iStock - Jacob Mathers)

This will be the final report for the 2024 planting season. There are no Planting Conditions Forecast attachments this week, since temperatures are forecast to remain warm. I did attach a picture from Terry Co Irrigated Mixed Technology RACE trial, however.

Planting has progressed quickly in the region as the first of the insurance deadlines approaches. Overall, I estimate the entire West Texas region is about 70-80% planted, with irrigated at 85-90%, and dryland at about 50-60% planted. 

Planting in the Texas Panhandle is nearly complete for both irrigated and dryland, even though dry spots remain in much of that area. Early plantings have emerged, with some fields struggling due to the cool fronts those fields endured. Herbicide and Thrips applications have been made as the relentless high winds have allowed. Overall, conditions are much improved over this time in 2023, when this area’s cotton was whittled down to just a few acres.

In the Southern High Plains, areas north of Lubbock are nearly completed planting, with most fields planted in a fury over the last two weeks. While some fields struggled earlier, those that have emerged are in good condition. Like the Panhandle, winds have complicated herbicide and Thrips sprays. South of Lubbock most of the irrigated fields are planted, but few are up. Only about half of the dryland fields are planted, and many were dry-planted in hopes of an upcoming rain.

Terry County Irrigated Mixed Technology RACE Trial (Photo: Courtesy of Ken Legé, Texas A&M AgriLife Cotton Extension Specialist)
Terry County Irrigated Mixed Technology RACE Trial (Photo: Courtesy of Ken Legé, Texas A&M AgriLife Cotton Extension Specialist)

There have been some scattered reports of cotton ‘burning up’ soon after emergence, and I suspect those fields had a planting rain with very little subsoil moisture. Seedlings germinated and emerged, but in the absence of additional rain, the root system reached the dry layer a few inches below the surface, and with the higher-than-normal temperatures we’ve experienced, the seedlings quickly wilted. It remains to be seen if affected acres will be replanted; much will depend on the rain chances forecast for the remainder of this week.

Our Replicated Agronomic Cotton Evaluations (RACE trials) typically serve as a good survey of the Southern High Plains. We are 85% planted with those trials, with only two dryland and one drip field remaining. Fortunately, only one trial was dry-planted; others were planted into at least some moisture. We’ve established stands at about half of the trials thus far. Many thanks to our great grower-cooperators for their flexibility during this planting season!