Harvey made landfall in an area of Texas where cotton growers expected record yields. Many gins there expecting to break their own records are far as ginning bales this year. After the storm, some cotton gins may not operate for the rest of the season.
While many images from Hurricane Harvey focus on flooded streets in the city of Houston and the surrounding communities, there are acres of flooded fields in the neighboring counties with saturated cotton bales. This gin near Woodsboro, Texas destroyed in the storm. Harvey is leaving its mark on the farming community.
“It’s just that we were lucky enough that the gin got our cotton out of the area before [Harvey] hit,” said Taft, Texas cotton grower, Joseph Floerke.
Floerke says he also farms north of where the eye hit. He got most of his cotton out of the field and covered, but not all.
“We still have cotton in the field in round bales in places, just not where there was 125 mile an hour wind,” said Floerke.
He says most of the round bales are in better shape, some with minimal water damage. A lot of conventional modules are damaged or gone.
“I don’t have a good feel on the amount of acreage not harvested,” said Tony Williams, Texas Cotton Ginners Association executive vice president. “Most of the cotton was harvested in the Corpus Christi area. They only have a small percentage still left on the field. [When you get to the] upper coast around that El Campo area, probably 50 percent [of the cotton crop] is still left out on the field. They were working hard to get that cotton out. A lot of producers were harvesting 24 hours a day from what I understand once they knew this storm was coming.”
Williams says as of Thursday, there seems to be minimal damage to warehouse.
“I haven’t heard of any warehouses that are flooded yet,” said Williams. “There are not as many warehouses as gins. Warehouses in Galveston, Texas, I haven’t heard that they flooded or anything. I don’t think the warehouse in Corpus Christi is flooded as far as I know. Those are the big warehouses.”
Multiple gin managers inside and outside of the flooding areas say they just started ginning or plan to begin in a week or two and with such a big crop, they expect to be busy.
Williams says it may take several weeks to get power to some of these gins impact ed by Harvey but some powered back up already this week.