How to Grow Cotton In Texas [Practical Guides] - Agrolearner.com
Guide on how to grow Cotton in Texas

How to Grow Cotton In Texas [Practical Guides]

The cotton industry is a profitable source of income for many middle and low-income households, who can become involved by farming, picking, and selling cotton. In Texas, over 20,000 acres of cotton fields are grown as an alternative crop to raise income opportunities.

The things that you will need for this farming project is planning, get training, writing a business plan, getting the source of funding, acquiring necessary licenses and permits, acquiring a planting site, choosing a variety of seeds, Planting Site Preparation, seed planting, cotton plant maintenance, and harvest

Cotton is one of the top crops grown in Texas. It is also one of the most profitable because it can be easily grown, producing high yield and with low maintenance cost.

If you are looking to start cotton farming in Texas, this informative piece contains all the tips you need on how to get started.

How To Start Cotton Farming In Texas

Table of Contents

This is how to start cotton farming in Texas, with the easy step-by-step instruction outlined and discussed below.

Step 1: Planning

Planning is important in every life matter. You shouldn’t wake up and suddenly venture into cotton farming but take time to carry out research and make proper findings regarding the venture. This will let you know if it is the ideal farming practice for you or not.

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Step 2: Get training

Cotton farming is no rocket science and can be done by anyone. However, you need to get first-hand knowledge on how to successfully begin and sustain the venture.

It is best to get practical training from an experienced farmer who can teach you the ropes of cotton farming.

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You can also read books and watch videos online to boost your knowledge with an eye-opener into contemporary means of farming cotton.

Step 3: Write a Business Plan

This business plan is for any person who wants to start a cotton farm in Texas. There are many things a person should think about before starting a cotton farm. The main reason for starting a cotton farm is to make a financial profit.

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To achieve maximum profit, one should consider all the aspects of running a successful business, including capital requirement & finance, human resource management, marketing and sales strategy, etc.

Step 4: Source for Funding

You need funds to purchase all the necessary equipment needed for cotton farming. if you don’t have the budget, it is time to look for means of getting funds. This is where your business plan comes in.

Make use of your business plan to get funding such as government grants, loans from a bank, or any other financial service. You can also show friends and family so they will know you are serious and will be convinced to lend you money for your business as well.

Step 5: Acquire Necessary License and Permits

Cotton cultivation is restricted to commercial use in several locations. So, check with your local agricultural department to determine if you can cultivate cotton. Some areas will grant you a waiver to grow it on your property, but you should check with them to find out the laws in your area.

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Also, you need to get the necessary license and permits regarding cotton farming so that your business will not be shut down or subject to a heavy fine. Make sure you check with the agriculture ministry or secretary of state to get more information and the process of getting the license and permits.

Step 6: Choose and Acquire a Planting Site

There are specifications you need to consider when choosing and or acquiring land for cotton farming. Cotton is a warm-weather annual plant that must be grown in a sunny location that gets at least 8 hours of sunlight per day.

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Cotton grows best in loose, well-draining soil, but many cultivars will grow in compact, drier soil. Cotton is equally suited to sandy, loamy, and clay soils. Plants prefer a pH range of 5.5 to 8.5, as well as well-drained, rich soil.

Step 7: Choosing Variety Seeds

The quality of your seed is an important consideration and will go a long way to determining yield level.  As a result, select high-quality seeds with a cool-warm vigor index of 155 or higher.

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Make sure you get your seeds from a reputable farm store or any other reputable source. Ensure that the seed catalogs at the vendor shop include this index number for your seed.

Step 8: Planting Site Preparation

Deforest the land if there are trees and other plants that may disturb your cotton planting. make use of mechanized equipment to speed up land-clearing processes.

Ones the land is cleared and rid of all unwanted plants, make sure you till and plow the land using tillers and other mechanized tools. Level the land to even out bumps and remove rocks and debris.

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Cotton is a heavy feeder and they require a lot of nutrients. Add compost, manure, or fertilizer to amend the soil in the planting area. Make sure you use a balanced nutrient that contains equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Create farm beds raised 3 to 4 inches high because cotton prefers firm beds for sowing. Also, make sure the farm beds are spaced 3 feet apart to create enough room for the plants.

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Step 9: Seed Planting

Cotton is best grown by direct seedlings. Make sure you dampen the farm bed for at least 15 minutes before planting. Along the top of the rows, dig holes 0.5 to 0.7 (1.3 to 1.8 cm) deep. The holes on each row should be 1.5 feet (0.46 m) apart. Cotton grows best at this depth because it permits the sun’s warmth to reach the plant.

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Pour 2 to 3 seeds into each hole and cover them with soil so that the seed will be placed and is not blown away.

Step 10: Cotton Plant Maintenance

You need to care for and maintain your cotton plant so that it can germinate properly and produce a high yield for harvest. Make sure you do the following:

Watering

Although cotton-like heat, it does not tolerate overwatering. However, you must maintain your plants and water your cotton plants once a week.

But, don’t water too much because it can make the plant susceptible to rot disease

If you find them floppy and there hasn’t been much rain, you may need to water them more frequently.

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Fertilizing

If necessary, apply fertilizer. Nitrogen is required for production, but too much because it can cause excessive growth and late maturity. You can apply organic fertilizer as well.

Weeding/Pest and Disease Control

Whenever you notice weeds growing or a single pest on your farm, don’t take it lightly but swiftly make sure they are removed from the farm.

You can remove weeds and pests manually or make use of chemicals but not those that are injurious to the cotton plant.

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Mulching

If the weather is extreme, you can mulch the plant. You can make use of dry grass or straw as it retains moisture as well as allows for air circulation.

Step 11: Harvest

Cotton takes time to be ready for harvest. It will take about 100 to 120 days to grow into maturity. It can be harvested when the bolls become dry and hard, and then break revealing.

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Varieties of Cotton in Texas

Texas is a leading cotton-producing state in the United States, with several varieties of cotton being grown. Some of the popular varieties of cotton grown in Texas include:

  • FiberMax
  • PhytoGen
  • Stoneville
  • NexGen

How much is Cotton sold in Texas

The price of cotton in Texas varies depending on the market demand and supply. However, as of March 2023, the average price of cotton in Texas is around $0.90 per pound.

Best Agronomic Practices to engage in growing Cotton in Texas

To grow cotton successfully in Texas, here are some recommended agronomic practices:

  • Soil preparation: Cotton thrives in well-draining, loamy soils with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. Prior to planting, the soil should be tilled, leveled, and cleared of any weeds or debris.
  • Planting: Cotton is typically planted in mid-April to early June. Seeds should be planted at a depth of 1 to 1.5 inches, and spaced 3 to 4 inches apart.
  • Irrigation: Cotton requires regular irrigation, with about 1 to 2 inches of water per week during the growing season.
  • Fertilization: Cotton is a heavy feeder and requires regular fertilization. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are the primary nutrients required by cotton.
  • Pest management: Cotton is susceptible to a variety of pests, including aphids, boll weevils, and whiteflies. It is important to implement an integrated pest management (IPM) program that includes cultural, biological, and chemical control measures.
  • Harvesting: Cotton is typically ready for harvest in late September to early November. Harvesting can be done mechanically or manually, and the cotton is usually picked from the bolls using specialized equipment.

Projected profit of Cotton in Texas

The profit from cotton farming in Texas varies depending on several factors, including the yield, market price, and production costs. However, according to the USDA, the average net return per acre for cotton in Texas in 2021 was estimated to be around $233.

Common Diseases and Pests of Cotton

Cotton is susceptible to various diseases and pests that can significantly impact yields. Some of the common diseases and pests of cotton in Texas include:

  • Fusarium wilt
  • Verticillium wilt
  • Boll weevils
  • Aphids
  • Whiteflies

Different Propagation Method of Cotton

Cotton is typically propagated through the planting of seeds. The seeds can be directly sown in the field or started in a greenhouse before transplanting. Additionally, some farmers in Texas also propagate cotton through cloning or tissue culture methods.

Which County In Texas Produces The Most Cotton?

San Patricio County is considered to produce the most cotton in Texas.

Does Cotton Grow Well In Texas?

Cotton grows well in Texas. It is the most important cash crop in the lone star state generating over $1.5 billion for farmers and contributing to the state’s economy.

How Much Do Cotton Farmers Make In Texas?

Cotton farmers in Texas make combine over $1.6 billion annually from cotton farming.

What City In Texas Produces The Most Cotton?

Lubbock city located in north-west Texas produces the most cotton in the whole of Texas.

What Month Is Cotton Harvested In Texas?

Cotton is harvested from October through to December in Texas.

How Many Acres Is A Cotton Farm?

About 500 acres and above is considered a cotton farm.

How Many Bales Of Cotton Do You Get Per Acre?

You can get approximately 810 pounds of bales of cotton per acre.

Is Cotton A Big Crop In Texas?

Cotton is a major crop grown in Texas. It is largely grown with over 5 million acres cultivated each year.

Is Cotton A Good Cash Crop?

Cotton is a good cash crop that contributes largely to the economy of many countries that produce it in large quantities.

How Much Does It Cost To Grow An Acre Of Cotton?

You will spend nothing short of $485 to grow an acre of cotton.

How Much Is A Bale Of Cotton In Texas?

A standard-size bale of cotton in Texas will cost you $360 or more depending on the seller.

What’s The Most Profitable Crop To Grow?

There are several profitable crops you can grow such as saffron, rice, tomatoes, maize, pulses, and sugarcane.

What Are The 3 Most Valuable Cash Crops In Texas?

Cotton, hay, and grain sorghum are the 3 most valuable cash crops to grow in Texas.

What Are The Struggles Of Growing Cotton?

The major struggles of growing cotton include land clearing, soil erosion and contamination, and loss of soil biodiversity.

What State Grows The Most Cotton?

The state of Texas in the U.S is the largest producer of cotton.

How Much Cotton Does Lubbock Texas Produce?

Lubbock city in Texas produces around 4 million bales per year.

Do They Grow Cotton in West Texas?

Cotton is grown in West Texas and the region’s high plains are the most suitable location.

How Many Acres of Cotton Does Texas Have?

There are around 5.25 million acres of cotton in Texas.

Largest Cotton Farm in Texas

Although there is no solid information, King Ranch in South Texas is one of the largest cotton farms in Texas.

What Is the Best Area for Cotton in Texas

The high plains region of Texas is the best area for cotton in Texas.

When Is Cotton Planted in Texas

Usually, farmers start planting cotton in February and March in Texas

Where Is Cotton Grown in Texas Map

The following regions are where cotton is grown. They are:

  • Panhandle
  • South Plains
  • Permian Basin
  • Trans-Pecos
  • Rolling Plains
  • Blackland Prairies
  • Winter Garden
  • Coastal Bend
  • Lower Rio Grande Valley

What Is Texas Cotton Used For

Texas cotton is mostly used as feed for livestock, poultry, and fish feed. Also, it is used for fertilizer.

Why Is Cotton Important To Texas

Cotton is important to Texas because it is the state’s top cash crop, bringing in about $1.6 billion for farmers and having a $5.2 billion economic impact on the entire state economy.

Cotton In Texas History

Texas has a long history of cotton production dating back to the 18th century when Spanish missionaries first planted the crop in the state. In 1821, Anglo-American colonists started growing cotton.

According to a report from the San Antonio missions in 1745, mission craftsmen produced several thousand pounds of cotton each year before spinning and weaving it.

Texas Cotton Industry

The Texas cotton industry is one of the largest producers of bolls in the United States with a variety of fibers and processes. Cotton has long been a major staple of life in Texas. The lone star state is home to cotton cultivation, processing, and manufacturing with more than 10,000 cotton farmers who grow our nation’s most important crop.

More so, the cotton industry is a major source of income for Texas, accounting for more than 50% of total farm receipts.

Conclusion

Cotton farming is a very profitable business today, but it takes time and effort to get started in this field. To establish a successful cotton farming venture in Texas, you need to have a thorough understanding of how to go about it and that is why we implore that you pay attention to the steps and guidelines provided in this material.

Author: David

David is a Kenyan farmer from the rural village of Nairobi. Growing up, he was surrounded by the beauty of the Kenyan countryside, which sparked his passion for farming. After completing his education, he decided to pursue a career in agriculture and has since dedicated his life to providing food for his local community. David is an experienced farmer and is experienced in a range of agricultural practices, including crop rotation, animal husbandry and soil management. He is passionate about promoting sustainable agriculture and is actively working to reduce food insecurity in his community.

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