No Rest for the West: How the ongoing drought is impacting cotton and wind power

The ongoing drought is causing Western producers to abandon their cotton crop faster than anticipated.

The USDA estimates three of every 10 cotton acres planted this spring will be left behind. That is nearly four times last year’s level. Some analysts say the crop is in such poor condition on four million acres, that it would be pointless to attempt a harvest. Texas is the number one cotton state, and as you can see on the latest drought monitor, the area is covered in dry conditions with a good portion experiencing exceptional drought.

Between the drought, extreme temperatures, and now the lack of wind, western livestock producers are also being hit hard right now. Brock Thompson with HTS Commodities is a frequent guest on the Market Day Report and is based out of Amarillo, Texas. He talked about the unique challenges for producers with a lack of wind power.

“We’ve seen some instances for the last four or five days where we haven’t had much of a wind, and that goes for a lot of these ranches that are using windmills still and haven’t converted to solar pumps. So, you get in a situation like this when it gets hot and dry and the wind doesn’t blow. The windmills don’t pump water so therefore, I’ve been picking up reports of people getting nervous and thinking about they’re going to start hauling water to cattle just to have something to drink if we don’t pick up some wind here,” says Thompson.

Thompson says this also applies to the bigger wind farms in his area and it is contributing to the energy shortage. However, the big wind turbines right now are providing some limited shade for cattle during this extreme heat.


No end in sight for the record heatwave hitting the Southern Plains

Is cotton in Arkansas living up to expectations?

Ongoing drought is causing a Western water crisis


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