COLLEGE STATION – From the Gulf Coast to Dallas, cotton harvesting. or preparations for it, were going “fast and furious,” according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

“There’s going to be a lot of cotton coming out of these fields in a fairly compressed period compared to most years,” said Dr. Gaylon Morgan, AgriLife Extension statewide cotton specialist, College Station.

In the Upper Gulf Coast, the cotton harvest actually started a couple of weeks ago, but was delayed by rain. However, now the harvesting has actively resumed, Morgan said.

Coastal counties, such as Matagorda, are mostly finished, with Wharton and Colorado making great progress, and harvest activities were progressing up through the Central Texas Blacklands, he said.

“A lot of defoliating has gone on in the past seven to 10 days in the Blacklands, and will continue for the next week,” he said. “Harvesting has begun is some areas of the Blacklands, and will increase this week.”

Without any tropical storms on the immediate horizon, Morgan expected the harvest in the southern half of the state to continue with minimal issues.

“In many cases, we have tropical storms or fall weather bringing more precipitation into the Upper Gulf Coast and Blacklands, but we haven’t had that this year, which has been great for timely harvest and should also keep the fiber quality up,” he said.

South Plains and Rolling Plains cotton – at least that which is irrigated – has made progress thanks to warmer weather, according to Morgan.

“Increased heat units the past couple of weeks have allowed the crop to catch up on maturity,” he said. “The bad news, they haven’t had much moisture.”

In the Rolling Plains, the crop has been late but has looked pretty good most of the summer, but the dryland could use more moisture, he said.

“In most of the High Plains, the dryland crop really doesn’t exist, but the Rolling Plains dryland crop was planted late, got some moisture and should make a respectable crop,” Morgan said.

What could spoil the prospects for the High Plains and Rolling Plains cotton would be an early freeze as the crop is still a little behind in maturity, he said.