The 2012 cotton planting season is just around the corner. We have been very fortunate to receive badly needed rainfall in many areas of southwestern Oklahoma. Precipitation amounts as recorded by the Altus Mesonet Station since last October are as follows:
This rainfall total has provided considerable relief for a lot of producers and we do have some good wheat in the area, but because of poor subsoil moisture it did get considerably thirsty by the end of February. March and early April rainfall has been highly beneficial in this situation. Weed pressure has steadily built over the last several months and producers have been busy trying to rein in this growth with herbicide applications.
With all of this said, in the cotton patch we are still a long way from being healed up from the Great Drought of 2011 and we are certainly in much better shape than one year ago. We have aquifers which need recharging and we also badly need runoff in the North Fork of the Red River watershed which feeds Lake Lugert. Currently the reservoir that feeds the Irrigation District is about 21% of capacity. We need some serious runoff in the watershed soon. A Corps of Engineers website which tracks the reservoir status can be accessed here:
April 3, 2012 Volume 2 Edition 3 Volume 1 Edition 7
OSU Southwest Oklahoma Research and Extension Center