Cotton crop threatened by fall ice storm

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A late October ice storm did not help the quality of cotton as harvest time nears. (Photo by Robert Medley)

From Staff Reports

Cotton is a tough crop, but a late October ice storm did not help the quality of the cotton as harvest time nears.

Cotton farmer Keith Kouba of Yukon has over 600 acres of cotton growing in and around Yukon.

Before the ice storm moved in on Monday, Oct. 26, his fields were looking as good as he had ever seen them look.

The white, puffy bolls of cotton had formed on the green plants, such as those on acres and acres near N.W. 10th and Garth Brooks Boulevard.

Then freezing rain soaked the plants and ice formed on the plants.

“Cotton plants are pretty hardy. Time will tell,” Kouba said. There have been years I have not finished harvesting until March.”

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Kouba had planned to start the cotton harvest in mid-November, after completing the harvest of soybeans that came first.

Ice can pull some of the cotton bolls off the plant.

“This usually happens before harvest is over anyway,” Kouba said. “If it doesn’t fall to the ground I can still get it. But the grade starts going down.”

Cotton prices had started o recover recently, he said. Cotton is getting about 67 cents a pound.

Cotton had been in good to excellent condition before the ice storm hit Canadian County, Kouba said.

He said he will be able to assess the crop in the coming weeks. Heavy rain and high winds followed the ice storm that lasted Monday through Thursday.

Read The Yukon Progress and yukonprogress.com for updates to local news.