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This is a testament to producers who know how to produce cotton sustainably and the varieties and genetics seed companies provide.

John Hart, Associate Editor

November 1, 2021

2 Min Read
Many North Carolina cotton farmers are  seeing yields surpassing four bales per acre on dryland fields.John Hart

Many North Carolina cotton farmers should see their best crop ever, with many seeing yields surpassing four bales per acre on dryland fields.

In a crop update provided to Southeast Farm Press Oct. 27, North Carolina State University Extension Cotton Specialists Keith Edmisten and Guy Collins agreed that many growers will see record yields this year, particularly in the northeastern corner of the state.

“Some in other areas are not experiencing their best yields ever, but mostly have above average yields. Above average yields with the prices and fiber quality we are seeing will probably make it the most profitable year for many growers,” Edmisten noted in an email to Southeast Farm Press.

Collins said the yield reports of more than four bales per acre on dryland fields is phenomenal, while other areas are reporting yields of two bales per acre which is still good. He noted there are few areas with yields in the 800 to 900 pound per acre range, which are still acceptable dryland yields for most years.

“As of now, we are harvesting quite a bit of 1,100 to 1,300 pounds per acre cotton which is certainly respectable yields for dryland production. I’d say on average, this year is turning out to be a higher than normal yield-year,” he said.

“This is a testament to our producers, who know how to produce cotton sustainably,  and our varieties and genetics that seed companies are providing. It is also a testament to the timely rains we experienced in most places during the summer months, and more so, it is a credit to nearly ideal weather during our defoliation and harvest season,” Collins explained.

He said good heat unit accumulation this year and drier sunny weather during September and October was key.

“The important thing now is to get this crop out as quickly as we can, before cooler weather (slower drying time for dew and rain) and shorter days (fewer effective harvest hours) set in, which can slow harvest progress and potentially reduce yields and quality if harvest is delayed for too long,” Collins said.

“For some growers in some areas, it probably is the best year ever or at least in quite a long time. For most growers, the average to higher-than-normal yields combined with current prices, I can see why it might be their best year too,” he noted.

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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