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Cotton planting hitting the high gears now

In Georgia, rain up north and drier conditions south helped cotton planting. North Carolina farmers will shift focus to cotton after peanut planting.

Brad Haire, Executive Editor

May 9, 2024

2 Min Read
young cotton plants
Farm Press File Photo

Temperatures are heating up, and so is Southeast cotton planting. Southeast Farm Press is looking at growers’ planting progress, as well as weather conditions expected for the #Plant24 cotton season.

On the May 3 episode of University of Georgia Extension ‘Talkin' Cotton Podcast,’ state cotton specialist Camp Hand said things are “Certainly picking up. We're starting to see some things out in the field for certain.” He added that an Extension agent in north Georgia texted him that as April winded out, the region caught a good rain, which will go a long way to help cotton planting.

And the lower part, hampered by wet conditions, was drying out, which will kickstart cotton planting, he said.

According to the May 6 USDA Southern Regional Field Office Crop Progress & Condition Report, much-needed rain fell across the northern part of the state but was limited across the southern portion. In many areas of South Georgia, pivots were still running to maintain soil moisture for recently planted crops. Cotton and peanut planting continued but producers were concerned about soil moisture at planting depth without substantial rains. Some producers opted to delay planting of dryland field crops due to insufficient soil moisture.

According to the report, growers have planted 21% of the cotton crop, ahead of last year’s pace and the five-year average.

Related:Thrips predictor hones cotton plans

Steve Brown is the cotton specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. In the May 9 Alabama Cotton Shorts, he said most of the state received “sufficient rainfall to facilitate stand establishment. We are probably almost 40% planted."

May 2 on the North Carolina State University Extension Cotton Blog, state cotton specialists Keith Edmisten and Guy Collins said a small percentage of the cotton crop had been planted. Many growers were concentrating on getting peanuts planted. As peanut planting concludes, they expect cotton planting to heat up rapidly in the state.

According to the May 6 USDA North Carolina Crop Progress & Condition Report, growers had planted 17% of the state’s cotton and no cotton had been planted the week before.

On the NC State Blog, Edmisten and Collins said temperatures for the 10-day forecast looked good, and they were not worried about temperatures at this point.

They were concerned about the lack of moisture, which NOAA predicted.

“We have some fairly good predictions for rain in the next few days. Additionally, the new 8- to 14-day precipitation forecast has us at a little above average. We advise that if you are planting in dry soils that you do not plant too deep. It is usually better to plant shallow and let a rain bring the crop up.”

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