Cotton Planting Update from the Southeast

By: Monty Bain, Southeastern RCM, The Cotton Board

Written on April 30, 2020

Folks in the Southeast are busy trying to finish up planting corn and peanuts. There are a few producers who have planted cotton, but from what I hear it’s a small number.   Cotton in the Southeast is usually planted from the last week in April until the 41st of May.  I say the 41st because there is always some cotton planted after the crop insurance deadline.  We have had rain and some strong storms come across the Southeast in the last couple of weeks and that has slowed producers down. I think most Southeast cotton producers will likely start planting during the second week in May, weather permitting.

I reached out to get updates from several cotton producers around the region, and here’s what they had to say:

Alabama

  • Nick McMichen from Centre, Alabama says they are extremely wet and cool.  He stated that he’s behind on burndown and behind on being ready to plant.  He isn’t making any changes to the number of cotton acres he intends on planting and is even planning to plant some cotton behind wheat.  According to Nick, cotton is the best choice for his operation with revenue crop insurance at 70 cents.
  • Florida

    • Ryan Jenkins, a producer from Jay, Florida had started planting cotton, but had to stop because of rain and cooler weather.  He says they will be ready to go all out in the next couple of weeks.  Jenkins Farms will also be doing their second year of test plots for many cotton varieties in conjunction with Agri-Afc research on the leaf curl virus.
    • Georgia

      • Farmer’s Gin & Peanut Company in Moultrie, Georgia suffered damage from a recent tornado that touched down at the gin. Thankfully, no one was injured, but several buildings acquired structural damage.  A peanut elevator was damaged, and a cotton warehouse had the doors blown out. 
        • Ben Grimsley from Weston, Georgia has delayed planting by about a week waiting on warmer temperatures and drier weather. He feels like even though he’s a little behind, he will be able to catch up over the next few weeks if the weather cooperates. Cotton is still his major crop, but he said he will reduce his cotton acres by 15% this season because of prices. He has increased his peanut acres and is growing some corn for the first time in many years.
        • North Carolina

          • Donny Lassiter from Conway, North Carolina said that they started planting cotton in late April but had to quit because of rain.  The forecast in his area has cooler nights predicted, and it looks like it may be a few days before the weather allows them to get cotton in the ground.  Donny said most of his corn is planted and up.  He said a small amount of beans had been planted in his area, but most farmers are waiting and ready to plant cotton and peanuts.
          • South Carolina

            • Frank Rogers from Bennettsville, South Carolina says they are probably seven days behind in planting because of cool weather and wet conditions. He’s hoping to start planting cotton on May 4th.  Frank said that cotton being back in the Farm Bill and the current seed cotton program were factors for how much cotton he decided to plant. He said planting cotton seems to be as good of a choice, or even a better choice, for his operation than other commodities.
            • Virginia

              • Phillip Edwards from Smithfield, Virginia says they have been cool and moist and are looking at a major rain front coming through. This follows a frost they had about a week ago.  Phillip says they are waiting on weather conditions to cooperate, and it may be another seven to ten days before they can begin planting cotton.
              • I’m wishing all my cotton producers a great planting season!     

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                The anecdotal information contained herein is believed to be reliable; however, The Cotton Board cannot guarantee its accuracy or completeness. The information contained herein should not be considered advice and should not be relied upon for the purpose of making decisions.

                MontyBain2018