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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

2014 a Down Year for Cotton Crop

Cotton modules await ginning at the Co-op Gin west of town.
Of course, this will come as no news to area cotton farmers, but this year’s dryland crop has been a major disappointment in terms of both yield and price.  It hasn’t been a devastatingly dry year, as it was in 2011 when wildfires and dust storms were the order of the day—there were occasional rains scattered here and there.  
The problem, though, was that when we did get them, they came at the wrong time, and when we needed them most, such as in late July and August, they never came at all.  The result has been small plants with few bolls, and even those are not very big ones.  

Moreover, the price of cotton this year has been lower than usual.  Yesterday, for example, it was selling at only 54¢ per pound, down from previous years.  In fact, it’s safe to say that more cotton fields in this area have collected crop insurance than have been stripped and ginned.

The total number of bales ginned so far by Roscoe’s Central Rolling Plains Co-op Gin is just a little over 16,000, and most of that is from irrigated fields.  Since gin manager Larry Black says that the ginning is just about half done, he estimates this year’s crop will be around 32,000 bales.  The average annual total for the previous seven years (i.e., since the consolidation of the Roscoe and Inadale gins in 2007) is 61,000 bales.  So, this year’s crop is only about half the average for this area and well below last year’s 72,000 bales.

For what it’s worth, this outcome is in line with the forecast made by the direction of the wind on the day after the beginning of spring last year.  As you may recall, that was the traditional day for the Plains Indians’ “Sunrise Wind” ceremony that used to be performed every year by “Injun George” Parks.  The ritual was revived in 2012 by “Injun Robert” McBride and has been an accurate forecaster since then.  Just before dawn on March 22 last year, “Injun Robert” built a fire and checked the direction of the smoke as the sun came up.

According to Indian tradition, if the wind was from the northeast, it foretold plentiful crops.  An east or north wind was pretty good, a west wind bad, southwest worse, and a south wind worst of all.  Unfortunately, the wind this year was from the southwest, foretelling a bad crop, and, as we now know, that turned out to be a pretty accurate forecast.

But, as always, hope springs eternal in the human breast, and next year’s crop may be much better.  And, if you’re not superstitious, you may be happy to learn that there are some scientific indicators suggesting that the next four months could be wetter than usual.  The National Weather Service at NOAA says that El NiƱo conditions are such that the entire southwest can expect above normal precipitation through early Spring. 

Map on left forecasts above normal precipitation for entire southwest; map on right forecasts below normal temperatures for the south, including Texas.
Although the maps show expected conditions only through March, the weather service indicates they should be accurate for April as well.  And just as precipitation should be above normal, temperatures should be below normal.  In other words, the National Weather Service is telling us to expect a cold, wet winter and early spring.  Let’s hope they’re right!



The Roscoe City Council meeting at City Hall last night was a short one with only two action items, both of which were approved, one to allow a Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 20, and the other to accept the final plat of Phase 1 of the Young Farm Estates.  Both passed unanimously and without debate.

City Manager Cody Thompson also gave his monthly report on city progress.  He reported that engineers, the contractor, and suppliers for the new reverse-osmosis water plant met on December 2 and are fine tuning daily operations of the plant and water wells.

Other water line improvements will begin within the next two to three weeks, and sewer line improvements will be bid in late January or early February.  A sewer plant pump for the irrigation system will be replaced as soon as the new pump arrives.

The required fence around the Stone Tower RV Park will be completed soon, and the RV Park will be ready for occupancy in late December or early January.

At the Young Farm Estates water and sewer lines have been installed, and problem areas are being repaired.  The natural gas lines and underground electric lines have also been installed, and street construction will begin after the first of the year with a target completion time of six to eight weeks.  Lots will go on sale in late February or early March.

Plowboy Center Lodge is adding two more site-built rooms, and the three state-financed homes are progressing as planned.

The New Wave Cable Company will end service in Roscoe on December 31.  TV service will now have to be HDTV antennas or satellite.

City Offices will be closed December 24-26 for Christmas, and trash pickup that week will be on Friday, December 26.  City Offices will also close at noon on Wednesday, December 31, and Thursday, January 1for New Year’s.



The Plowgirls had a busy time in basketball this past week, winning one game and losing two last weekend in the Highland Tournament and winning one last night at Leuders.

They won their first game in the Highland Tournament against Sands.  After jumping out to an early 14-3 lead in the first quarter, the Plowgirls were outscored in the second but still led at halftime, 21-14.  The Lady Mustangs narrowed the gap in the third quarter to 30-29, but the Plowboys had a strong fourth quarter to win by 13 points, 49-36.

High scorer for the Plowgirls was Samantha Ortega with 16 points, followed by Olivia Saddler with 14.  Mia Herrera had 6, Selena Perez 5, Magali Casas 5, and Danielle Dean 3.

They then lost their next game to Cross Plains, 42-32.  The first half was close with Roscoe ahead by one, 10-9, after the first quarter and behind by one, 19-18, at the half.  The second half was all Cross Plains, though, as they led the Plowgirls 31-23 after three and 42-32 at game’s end.

High scorer for the Plowgirls was Saddler with 15, while Ortega had 8, Herrera 6, Casas 2, and Dean 1.

They then lost a close one to Highland, the tournament champs, 36-35.  Highland jumped out to a 13-6 lead and at halftime led 22-12.  At the end of three the Lady Hornets still had a comfortable lead, 28-19, but in the fourth the Plowgirls finished strong, outscoring Highland 16-8 but still losing by one, 36-35.

High scorer for Roscoe was Saddler with 17.  Ortega had 12, Herrera 3, and Perez 3.

Then last night the Plowgirls resumed their winning ways by defeating Leuders-Avoca in Leuders, 45-40.  The game was close until the fourth quarter as the lead between the teams went back and forth.  Roscoe led 17-15 at the end of one and 23-22 at the half.  At the end of three the Lady Raiders had pulled ahead 30-29, but the Plowgirls outscored them 16-10 in the fourth to win by five, 45-40.

Saddler led Roscoe’s scoring with 19 points, followed by Herrera with 11, Ortega 7, Perez 4, Dean 3, and Casas 2.

The Plowgirls’ next game will be next Tuesday, December 16, at home against Haskell.  The JV game begins at 5:00pm  and the varsity game at 6:15.



Sunday morning fog.  (Photo by Ken Brawley)
The past week has been uneventful regarding the weather with no precipitation or extremes in temperature or wind.  High temperatures ranged from 68°F on Friday to 54° on Sunday, and lows ranged from 48° on Friday to 43° on Saturday.  There was some sunshine, but also some overcast skies and partly cloudy weather.  There was even some fog on Sunday morning.

The high today will be only about 58°, and there is a 20% chance of rain.  But tomorrow should warm up to 65° and Friday to 72°.  Weekend highs will be in the sixties and lows in the forties.

There is a 30% chance of rain on Saturday night and a 40% chance on Sunday.



At his request, funeral services will not be held for John Wesley Strother, 73, who passed away at Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene on Thursday, December 4, 2014.  He will be cremated.

He was born on December 14, 1940 in Roscoe, where he lived most of his life. While growing up, he was a member of the Roscoe Boys Club and was a pitcher on the baseball team.  In 1959, he graduated from Roscoe High School, where he played football and participated in other school activities.  He then served in the US Army and was stationed in La Rochelle, France.  Afterwards, he lived and worked in the Dallas area for a while before returning to Roscoe.  He married Susan Hale in 1971.  For several years he owned and operated a steel building construction company, custom building metal storage buildings, garages, carports, storm cellars, and furniture. 

He is survived by a son, Jason Strother, and a daughter, Shahala, both of Sweetwater; as well as two grandchildren, Aaron Phillips and Haleigh Strother, also of Sweetwater.



1 comment:

  1. Nice to see that racism in Rosce is not limited to confederate battle flags on the highway but also now to native americans. Very cosmopolitan indeed.


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