The High Plains is taking a beating, said Rex Carr, seed, chemical, and fertilizer manager for Brownfield Farmers Co-op in Brownfield, Texas. “Conditions are extremely bad as far as the drought and wind. Lots of drip cotton has been replanted due to dry surface and windy conditions. Peanuts are looking good but will need a rain to make any sort of yield.” He said peanut acreage is “way down from last year. I heard one peanut company only has 1,000 acres contracted in Hockley County.”

Cotton farmers were scrambling to get a crop “dusted in” before the June 5 insurance deadline.

Jay Yates, Texas AgriLife Extension economist at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Lubbock, said cotton farmers are scurrying to get seed in the ground.

“Everyone is getting cotton planted right now.”

He said most dryland farmers expect very little from the 2011 crop and may have to rely on crop insurance to salvage anything.

“(Cotton farmers) will be keeping their irrigated acres watered in hopes of a return to $2 prices in the fall. No one is talking about (planting) sorghum in this weather. That could all change with a June 21 ‘soaker.’ If late June storms come with lots of rain and hail, some irrigated cotton acres may go to sorghum, but the attitude seems mostly to take the $1.23 indemnity and get ready for next year.”

Mary Jane Buerkle, director of communications and public affairs for Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., said farmers “dusted in” dryland acreage last week ahead of the June 5 insurance deadline. “Areas south of us have until June 10. It's been hard on the irrigated producers as well, trying to get the cotton up and often having to run sand fighters at the same time.”

She said Lubbock has had no rainfall this spring. “Some areas to the west and east have gotten a little but not enough to make much of a difference.” 

She said PCG has heard no reports of significant acreage cutbacks. “There may be some acreage shifts from dryland way up to the north (near the top of the Panhandle) where they don't have good crop insurance history.”

She said planting at this point is not the question; getting a stand is a big issue. “If it doesn't rain within the next week or two, we're looking at possibly 2 million dryland acres lost in our area.”