Verett says the timing couldn’t have been much worse for West Texas. “Farmers had already invested just about every cost except harvest into the crop. A lot had been defoliated.

“This storm proves that it’s never late to hail in the High Plains of Texas. And the crop is never safe until it’s tied up and in a bale.”

Verett agrees that the 2010 crop was less than the bumper many observers expected earlier in the year. “We never know what the crop is going to be,” he says. “Last week we were hearing from farmers who said cotton was not making what they had expected.”

But early harvest, he says, can be deceiving.

“Consequently, we may never know how much this storm cost us. Cotton production numbers are moving targets until the crop is ginned. It’s a work in progress until we can count the bales.”

National Agricultural Statistics Service estimates put the high Plains crop at 6.16 million bales. Verett says it’s too early to estimate how much that will drop following storm damage.

A PCG report indicates rainfall totals on Oct. 21 of as little as 1 inch to more than 5 inches in various locations, with scattered hail. The epicenter appears to be a corridor from northern Yoakum County, Texas, through southern portions of Lubbock County and northwestern Lynn County. This area includes a significant portion of Terry County as well.

Verett says reports also indicate damage to acreage outside of the area to the southwest of Lubbock with additional isolated events to the north and east of Lubbock in Hale, Floyd and Crosby County and south along the Lubbock/Lynn County line.