This photo grabbed me late last week… My friend Kelly Whatley (Twitter, Blog, Google+) lives in the Corpus Christi area and like so many of us, has a tradition of taking cotton harvest pictures, especially if there is a field or two that make you proud. South Texas always gets the first bale in and it’s clear that they will again. Driving around in the Mid-South, I’ve seen variable crop conditions and this photo made me wonder when I may be able to see something here closer to home…. so I sent out a social media call. And as Kelly’s husband torqued up the pickers to roll, other cotton farmers sent me some photos from their farms!
So who replied?
Last year at the AgChat Foundation Conference, I met some awesome folks. Was thrilled to find several cotton peeps in the mix! That’s how I got to know Shea Whitfield. Really kind of funny since I lived in the Mississippi Delta for a dozen years and had been through his hometown many times. And yes, since he’s from the world catfish festival…. I frequently ate farm-raised catfish while in town. Shea sent me this photo that a friend had taken…. a beautiful photo that shows the crop is loading up with fruit! (If you don’t know much about cotton blooms, you may enjoy this photo post about the way cotton looks in season.)
I can’t give my girl Jillian Estess (Twitter, blog) enough props! She replied to my request with a bunch of photos — one even included her new hubby Jared up to his neck in cotton! She took the time to get photos of several different fields and make sure I could see the effects of this erractic weather and the scattered planting dates. Jared & Jillian are a couple of years into cotton production and with the weather challenges of this year, I bet the conservation programs they have have already paid off big time. Many of their fields are planted into oat or rye stubble. In a rainy spring, conservation tillage can help drainage while at the same time provide greater water holding capacity in-season when drought hits. All of the photos Jillian sent are from Cottonwood, Alabama.
Georgia’s Dooly County
One of my Twitter friends, @cottonfarmer Gene Roney regularly shares photos of what’s happening at his farm in South Georgia…. well, from the looks of things, a bunch of cotton is growing strong.
My home state of Tennessee!!!
And how could this be finished without checking in with my peeps locally! The crop here is in full bloom in many places and cutting out in some. (One of these days I should get that cotton dictionary up huh?) So far, some farmers are feeling okay about the potential here in Tennessee, kind of surprising knowing so much went in the ground so late! Just look at how many squares, blooms and young bolls you see on the closeup.