On unprecedented drought…

“I’ve never seen a year with this sort of drought. I also run a herd of cows and we have stock tanks going dry that never have gone dry before. We’ve had to sell most of the herd because there’s no grass or water for them.

“It is incredibly dry here. I’ve never seen irrigated crops in the Texas High Plains look so poor. You can drive mile after mile and maybe a quarter of the fields look even halfway normal.

“Many irrigated farmers are having difficulties with wells pumping sand because they have the surges of water that come as a result of not having sufficient water levels. Many different practices are being used to finish the summer. The most drastic measure is just turning the water off.”

On abandoning crops…

“About 10 days ago, I finally gave up on my cotton. I’ve turned the irrigation water off.

“I’m not alone. There are a lot of farmers turning water off and saying ‘we can’t afford any more inputs.’

“Some people ask me how much off historical yields the irrigated crops are. I think they’ll be off at least a half (the normal yield). It could be more than that. It’s very hard to tell because when you do find a good crop, it looksvery good.

“August can be the month that makes a good crop give up, so it may be the month that puts the proverbial ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ on some marginal crops.” 

On how the markets look currently…

“We always say high prices will cure high prices faster than anything. That happened last year – the market overreached into extremely high prices because mills were buying cotton in panic mode.The frenzy that occurred last year was a result of the perfect storm of circumstances.

“As a result, we probably saw 2 to 3 percent of mill usage convert to some sort of manmade fibers. That conversion has helped out with the short cotton supply. When the panic began to subside and mills could step back before buying, the market made the extreme down move.

“According to the experts, we’re about two million bales short on what the U.S. crop can provide as far as existing sales. Going into the new crop there’s demand to help fulfill commitments and should help prices stabilize and go back up until it hopefully finds a trading range.”