They offered suggestions for long and short-term research goals.

“We need help with wilt and nematode problems,” Gude said. Losing Temik puts research into nematode resistant varieties on a top priority list, he said.

“Water use efficiency is also important,” Kirby said. “We’re investing heavily in drip irrigation because we think we will have less water in the aquifer and possibly more regulations. We need varieties that are more water efficient.”

Lewis also supports more seed technology. “I farm near Lubbock so I have to be careful about spraying. I want to get all the technology possible bred into the plant. That allows me to reduce the number of spray applications. The more technology, the better.”

Both say, despite the weather setbacks, yield and quality of the 2010 crop look good. “Grades are good,” Gude said. “The cotton is going into the pool at 56 cents per pound loan value.”

Neither is disappointed that their cotton is in the market pool. “About 90 percent of West Texas cotton is in a pool,” Lewis said. “We will not hit the peak, but we will do okay.”

Other West Texas cotton observers said the 2010 crop will not live up to early expectations. The wet July and a dry August and September hurt yield potential. But most expect a good crop, above average, with dryland production perhaps faring a bit better than irrigated acreage.

Observers estimated that about two-thirds of the High Plains crop has been harvested.