Monsoon 2013

Sep 13, 2012 8:12 PM by John Patrick

Wet Monsoon not always good for local farmers

TUCSON - Above average rainfall doesn't always mean an easy going growing season for local cotton farmers.

This year's Monsoon may have led to a good end product with this year's cotton crop producing an above average yield, however, it may have cost farmers a little more in the process.

Tom Clark, a Marana cotton farmer, says, "I think it's going to be a good year in the Marana area. All the farmers that I've spoke with said they're pretty optimistic about the crops and about the yield we're going to get."

With all the rain come problems with insects like aphids and white flies leading to high insecticide costs. Weeds like Morning Glories also grow out of control which means more herbicide to apply.

Clark explains, "It's going to be a little more expensive of a crop, though, because of that additional insecticide that we had to apply because of the Monsoon."

With heavy precipitation soil born diseases can also spread out of control. Clark is seeing elevated cases of Texas Root Rot and Verticillium Wilt in nearly of all of his cotton fields. These diseases don't wipe out the plants altogether but do limit their potential to produce a higher yield of cotton.

The Monsoon hasn't been all bad news, though, farmers have to irrigate less saving some cost and the growing season has been shortened which mean harvesting can start sooner.


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