Cotton Damage from Hurricanes

Thomas A. Merrill, Guidry, Kurt M.  |  9/17/2008 2:13:55 AM

Much of the Louisiana cotton crop was at an extremely vulnerable stage to tropical weather systems when Hurricane Gustav moved through the state – causing losses of more than half the state’s crop value with damages estimated to exceed $125 million. Most of the crop was between 60 percent and 90 percent "open boll" and ready for harvest aids to be applied. Under normal circumstances, a large amount of Louisiana cotton would have been harvested in three weeks. Cotton losses were due to a combination of extreme wind and extreme rain. In addition, because of saturated conditions, some cotton still left on the stalks will not be harvestable.

The attachments of bolls to branches and carpels (burs) to bolls have a great deal of rot and will decrease harvest efficiency. An overwhelming percentage of Louisiana cotton fields had seed sprouting in the bolls, which will lead to quality losses (both lint and cottonseed quality losses) and greatly increased ginning costs.
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