Texas the second-biggest state in the U.S. (behind only Alaska), and is also the second most populous (behind only California). As the saying goes, everything really is bigger in Texas, and that’s a great point of pride for those who call the Lone Star State home.
Land and population aren’t the only things that are big about Texas, either. Texas is also the nation’s largest producer of several commodities. You probably know that Texas is the leader in oil and cattle, but unless you’re in-the-know about cash crops, you may not be aware that Texas is also tops in cotton production.
Cotton is the most-used natural fiber in the world, and remains as a keystone of the textile industry. Because of this, global demand for cotton remains high. Cotton has been a major crop in Texas since the latter part of the 19th century, and cotton is still big business there today. Nearly anywhere you travel within the borders of the Lone Star State, you’re in cotton country; Texas plants nearly 6 million acres per year, which equates to nearly half of the U.S. cotton production total. Cotton consistently ranks as a top cash crop in Texas, generating nearly $3 billion in crop value in 2016 alone. Most of the cotton grown in Texas is exported, with major buyers including China, Mexico, Turkey, and various Pacific Rim countries. And cotton isn’t just valued for its soft, white fiber. Cottonseed oil is a component of cooking oil, shortening, and salad dressing, and cottonseed meal and hulls are used as animal feed, as well as fertilizer.
Cotton planting begins as early as February 1 in South Texas, and continues through the late spring in northern portions of the state. Seeding is done with mechanical planters which can cover anywhere from 10 to 24 rows at a time. Cotton has a longer growing season than many other crops; the plants require between 5½ and 6½ months to mature and fully produce cotton fiber.
Harvesting begins in mid-August in South Texas, and cotton harvesting continues all the way through early winter in some parts of Texas.
Despite the advances of technology including machine planters and harvesters, growing cotton is still a lot of work. Cotton farmers don’t just get to sit back and wait once all the seed is in the ground! While cotton is very drought and heat-tolerant, irrigation is still sometimes required. Some insecticides and herbicides occasionally need to be applied as well. Farmers have to keep a constant lookout for aphids, bollworms, and other common pests which can threaten this critical crop. And because cotton has such a long growing season, farmers have to put in many hours over many months to ensure the health of their cotton plants. The longer it can stay in the ground, the longer, stronger, and more valuable the cotton fiber produced will be.
Cotton farmers in Texas know that growing the cotton isn’t enough. Once the cotton is harvested from the fields, it then needs to be secured for safekeeping until it can be transported to the gin for processing. Some cotton is loaded directly onto trucks or trailers, but most cotton in Texas is stored at the edge of the field in large, covered mounds called modules. A module typically holds between 13-15 bales, and can weigh up to 10 metric tons. Some farmers have also started using newer cotton pickers which produce smaller, round-wrapped modules through a mechanism that is similar to that of a round hay baler.
In order to keep your cotton farm running smoothly, one of the best investments you can make is in sturdy steel facilities. Some of the applications and uses of a steel building from Carport Central include:
Carport Central is proud to source the very best steel buildings and structures in Texas! Each of our metal buildings is produced by a local American manufacturer, and we’re proud to source American steel, too. We also provide you with MANY ways to customize your building; if you can think of it, we can make it happen! Carport Central is simply the best choice for your TX steel building solution:
Carport Central is about much more than just selling you a metal building; we’re about Providing Shelter For Your Way Of Life. Reach out to us online, or simply give us a call at (980) 321-9898, and let one of our friendly building specialists show you the Carport Central difference! Let us help you ensure that cotton remains king in Texas!