LUBBOCK, Texas — The price of cotton dropped to 78 cents per pound Wednesday, adding another growing pain onto South Plains farmers plowing through a season already plagued by drought and high input prices.

Wednesday’s price is the lowest since April 2021 and about 25 percent lower than this time last year. It is less than half of this year’s high of $1.58, set in May.

Doug Hlavaty grows cotton on 3500 acres south of Lubbock, but he said it is not even worth the harvest at this price.

“It makes you not want to grow cotton anymore,” he said. “Unless we get close to a dollar a pound, it’s hard to make it work. Prices really need to go up for us to grow cotton next year.”

This price drop follows a punishing drought and a steep rise in overhead costs. Hlavaty said his irrigation costs rose by a third and fertilizer prices have doubled since last year.

“We can’t grow cotton to lose money. We have to grow it to make money,” he said. “We’re in a pickle with inflation and the cost of everything.”

While the price is expected to rise eventually, Hlavaty is preparing for a further downturn in the near future. Some farmers are considering planting other crops for the next season, but their preferred choice is always cotton.

“We’d grow grain or some other crop,” Hlavaty said. “This infrastructure with the gins and system we have here sure works better if we grow cotton. I’m hoping cotton will grow up by the time we plant in May and have to make a decision.”