Local farmer discusses ice’s impact on crops, cattle

Updated: Oct. 27, 2020 at 6:58 PM CDT
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CHATTANOOGA, Okla. (TNN) - Some cotton farmers were able to prepare to save their crops, but others will suffer losses this year following this ice storm.

Rain, sleet and ice in October... It’s not something we see too often here in Southwest Oklahoma. While many are concerned about hazardous driving conditions... local farmers are fighting to save crops and miserable livestock from the freezing cold.

Chattanooga farmer Dallas Geis says this ice storm could not have come at a worse time for farmers in Oklahoma and North Texas who had not yet harvested cotton or prepared for the cold temperatures.

“This weather... it is a shock because we’ve had ice storms before on our cotton, but never this early, and we’re at a really critical stage right now,” said Geis.

He said in Jackson County, about twenty to thirty percent of cotton had been harvested, but in the Lawton area, maybe one or two fields had been harvested. But since he knew about the incoming weather, Geis did take precautions to salvage his crops.

“The problem with these temperatures is that if you’re not able to go out there and put a plant growth regulator on it, which causes the boll to open, then with this freeze, the boll can freeze shut and then the crop is ruined and you won’t be able to harvest it,” said Geis.

Still, this is no guarantee. When the ice thaws from the cotton, if it’s heavy enough, lint may fall to the ground and become useless. Moisture can also rot partially opened bolls.

Geis says 2020′s been no ordinary year but he’s keeping the faith.

“In Southwest Oklahoma, every year is challenging," said Geis. "You face high temperatures, you face low temperatures, drought, too much rain. I mean, we’re a land of extremes, but I guess we always try to have a positive attitude.”

He said there’s always next year.

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