PRATT - The coronavirus has not shut down the cotton gins. Although the four Kansas gins finished with this year’s ginning by early March, they still have seeds for cattle to munch on.

Cotton seeds are chuck full of protein, and that protein is good for all types of cattle.

“There is a lot of demand for it (the seeds),” said David Lingle, the general manager of Next GINeration cotton gin in Pratt. “It ups their milk capacity.”

The gins are delivering their seeds both locally and throughout the U.S. And because the cows, steers and bulls need to eat, the coronavirus is not shutting these plants down.

“You try to have enough forage to deliver out to the dairies and ranchers through the summer,” said Jon Nesler, manager of Northwest Cotton Co-op in Moscow, Kansas.

The Northwest Co-op has 13 tons contracted for delivery. Next GINeration has more than 10 tons ready to deliver.

Nesler said because the cotton crop was good this year, the seeds are full of protein. As for the cotton, he said, last year’s grades were the best the Moscow plant ever had.

Because of last year’s flooding during planting season, Kansas farmers were unable to grow as many acres of cotton.

“We couldn’t get into the fields and get it planted,” Lingle said.

But what farmers did get in produced a good product.

“It ginned really well,” Nesler said. “We got it out of the fields without any hitches.”

According to the USDA, the U.S. cotton crop estimate for 2019/20 was reduced by 300,000 bales. This was just under 20 million bales, according to data in the March Cotton Ginnings report. The USDA’s latest estimate is at 8% more cotton than 2018. This is the second largest cotton crop since 2006.

World cotton trade is projected at slightly less than 44 million bales in 2019/20. This is 5% higher than the year before.

In Kansas, the cotton production of 290,000 bales was down 15% from last year. The yield was down as well. But the area harvested was at a record high of 153,000 acres. This is up by one thousand acres more than last year. The areas planted are up as well.

As for next year, both Lingle and Nesler expect good results. They both expect the acres planted along the southern corridor of Kansas will be up.

“Temperature wise, we’re warming up nicely,” Nesler said. “I can see them planting in the next three weeks. The price was good up until the coronavirus.”