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Rare, ideal weather boosts Carolina Blackland cotton planting

The 2024 cotton planting season proved mostly ideal, a rarity with the area's rich, fertile farmland that hugs the Atlantic Coastline.

John Hart, Associate Editor

May 24, 2024

12 Slides

For Hyde County, N.C. farmer Eric Cahoon, the 2024 cotton planting season proved mostly ideal, a rarity in the North Carolina Blacklands, with its rich, fertile farmland that hugs the Atlantic Coastline. Most years, the weather is cool and wet at planting time.    

“Last year, we had 6.1 inches of rain on the 27th of April, so we didn’t start planting cotton until the 8th of May. It took that long for everything to get dried out. Our goal is to have all of our cotton planted by May 15. We like to plant early so we will be able to harvest early,” he said. 

Cahoon started planting cotton on April 25 and wrapped up on May 15. The cotton crop is off to a good start. In addition, Cahoon grows corn and soybeans on his 2,400 acres near the village of Engelhard. 

Cahoon has found success growing cotton in the Blacklands, achieving average yields near three bales per acre and often achieving four bales per acre. For Cahoon, success comes down to attentive management and choosing the right cotton varieties. 

“A variety may work for your neighbor but not for you. Technology is changing so fast. New varieties come every year, and a variety three or four years old may not be competitive anymore.  We usually plant six varieties. A lot of people push fiber quality, but yield is where the money is,” Cahoon said from his tractor on May 2 as he planted his 2024 cotton crop. 

Related:Eric Cahoon finds cotton success in the N.C. Blacklands

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High Cotton

About the Author(s)

John Hart

Associate Editor, Southeast Farm Press

John Hart is associate editor of Southeast Farm Press, responsible for coverage in the Carolinas and Virginia. He is based in Raleigh, N.C.

Prior to joining Southeast Farm Press, John was director of news services for the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, D.C. He also has experience as an energy journalist. For nine years, John was the owner, editor and publisher of The Rice World, a monthly publication serving the U.S. rice industry.  John also worked in public relations for the USA Rice Council in Houston, Texas and the Cotton Board in Memphis, Tenn. He also has experience as a farm and general assignments reporter for the Monroe, La. News-Star.

John is a native of Lake Charles, La. and is a  graduate of the LSU School of Journalism in Baton Rouge.  At LSU, he served on the staff of The Daily Reveille.

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