Valley farmers making preparations ahead of storm expected to hit next week

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For cotton growers, it is a race against time.

Rain could cause quality issues in this year's crop, so farmers have started the cotton harvest a little early to avoid the possibility of water damage.

"We typically would like to wait just a little bit longer to get all these bolls to open but because of the fact where we don't want to take the chance of deteriorating quality, we're going to try to complete this before the rain arrives," says Mark McKean.

McKean can't afford to wait because his Pima cotton could take a big hit with the rain, especially if the sun and wind don't immediately dry the cotton crop after the storm.

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" A lot of it has to do with, once the rain gets on there and there's moisture on there, there's potential for getting sooty mold to grow on the plant itself," he said. "Then you get discoloration of the lint."

McKean has 150 acres that are ready for harvest but not all of his harvesting machines are working right now.

"The reality of it is only two machines are only going to show up here," he said. "We're waiting for parts for the other two and once again, we can talk about it but it's a totally different subject, but it is this supply chain breakdown that we're dealing with in a lot of these cases."

Like other Valley farmers, McKean welcomes the rain, just not during harvest.

As much as 50% of the Valley cotton crop has still not been harvested, so crews will be extremely busy until the storm hits.
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