Tropical rainfall in September in the Lower Rio Grande Valley interrupted the final phases of harvest of the area’s 145,000 acre cotton crop, according to Rod Santa Ana, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications specialist, Weslaco. This field north of McAllen was harvested but not before rains kept the grower from stalk destruction, a state-mandated operation designed to prevent overwintering of boll weevils.
Tropical rainfall in September in the Lower Rio Grande Valley interrupted the final phases of harvest of the area’s 145,000 acre cotton crop, according to Rod Santa Ana, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications specialist, Weslaco. This field north of McAllen was harvested but not before rains kept the grower from stalk destruction, a state-mandated operation designed to prevent overwintering of boll weevils.

COLLEGE STATION – After prolonged drought, South Texas producers are now struggling with too much moisture, according to Rod Santa Ana, Texas A&M AgriLife communications specialist based in Weslaco.

On Sept. 16, the rains were continuing without any let up in the forecast, which was discouraging for South Texas growers of cotton and citrus, Santa Ana said.

“After a long summer dry spell here in South Texas, we received a lot of rainfall from Tropical Storm Dolly in early September,” he said. “A lot of areas in the lower Rio Grande Valley got anywhere from 4 to 5 inches accumulated rainfall just this last weekend.”

A good portion of the area’s cotton was harvested, but harvesting of those fields that weren’t finished is now on indefinite hold, Santa Ana said.

Another problem is the delay of cotton stalk destruction, he said. To prevent overwintering and buildup of cotton boll weevil populations, cotton stalks must be destroyed in a timely manner. State law mandates stalk destruction, either mechanical or chemical, by Sept. 1

“Some growers had harvested and destroyed their stalks; others had harvested but hadn’t had time to destroy their stalks.”

Santa Ana said another problem caused by wet field conditions is control of the Asian citrus psyllid, an insect that has been identified as the vector of citrus greening, a bacterial disease that can wipe out entire orchards.