For western Oklahoma farmer Kenton Javorsky, the 2018 growing season has a distinctly different pace than years past. This year instead of having the majority of his acres planted to wheat, he’s growing a lot of cotton.
Wheat prices have been pressured for several years and this year Javorsky says he just couldn’t make very many acres of wheat pencil. Instead, he’s turned to cotton, a crop that farmers in his region plant in fits and spurts.
“At one time there was a lot of cotton in Oklahoma,” he says.
Javorsky has no irrigated land so he’s completely reliant on rain to make his crops grow. At an average rainfall of 22 inches, you’d think he could grow just about anything, but because the rain comes very sporadically drought is often a challenge.
“We just had what you’d call a million dollar rain,” he says. “A week ago we weren’t sure if this crop would make it.”
Because moisture is a constant struggle, Javorsky skip-row plants cotton into wheat stubble to help hold in soil moisture.
“Since we’ve gone no-till we’ve seen a huge improvement in soil health and moisture,” he says.