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Wise on water

Whether dealing with irrigated or dryland cotton, Chris Bubenik aims to use and stretch water in his arid Concho Valley region efficiently.

The Wall, Texas, producer grows about 60% of his cotton with irrigation and the other 40% as dryland cotton.

No two years are exactly the same, and the 2010 growing season was challenging. The San Angelo area caught some good, timely rains throughout much of July, but the rain abruptly quit, and the weather turned hot and dry. From the last week of July through mid-August, the temperature exceeded 100 degrees F every day to equal a 41-year-record hot spell going back to the summer of ’69.

Key Points

• The 2010 season produced a record period of 100-degree days at San Angelo, Texas.

• Chris Bubenik used canal and well water to irrigate much of his cotton.

• Bubenik is mindful of ways to stretch irrigation water for crop production.


Some cotton in Tom Green County began to set blooms in the top of the plant and cut out as the August heat continued.

Bubenik feels fortunate to have a combination of canal water and wells for his irrigated cotton. He also appreciates what rain he did receive early on, especially for his dryland production.

From application management of the irrigation water to his tillage and weed control, Bubenik aims to stretch every drop in a meticulous operation. He says modern technology is helping growers like him be more efficient.

“When I grew up on a farm, it was pretty standard back then,” Bubenik reflects. “You just sort of rocked along. But things are exciting now.”

Whatever the year, Bubenik stays busy with his farming, while wife Jackie teaches computers at Wall Middle School. Their three children, two sons and one daughter, now are grown — two are working in their careers and one is in college.

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COTTON TAKES OFF: Chris Bubenik grew all FiberMax cotton varieties for 2010, with about 60% of his cotton acreage as irrigated production from a combination of canal water and wells at Wall, Texas. With a record string of 100-degree-plus days during the growing season, he felt fortunate to have irrigation.

This article published in the October, 2010 edition of THE FARMER-STOCKMAN.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.