Virginia Cotton: Planting Ahead of Schedule

Cotton planting. ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

Cotton planting is close to 50% complete as we are ahead of pace for planting the 2018 cotton crop.

  • We didn’t even have any real opportunity to plant in April this year, but once May arrived, temperatures have not been an issue for us this year as cotton planting conditions have ranged from good to excellent so far.
  • We won’t actually be at the halfway point of the planting season until around May 15th and some folks will be done by then.
  • Many folks have focused more on peanuts this week which has slowed down the cotton progress while others continue planting cotton and peanuts at the same time. Things have also slowed down a bit back towards central to Northern Suffolk after receiving over 2 inches of rainfall Sunday.
  • At any rate, looking forward, we have about three shots at a little bit of rainfall over the next couple of weeks. It does not take a lot of rain this time of year, but with 90 degrees headed our way again this weekend, we will be ready for the next shower when it comes. Central to western Southampton and Surry are ready right now as they pretty much missed it all on Sunday.
  • Sense we are still early in the planting season, we have a lot of options.
  • In these dry areas, chasing moisture down to about an inch can make sense, but if there is no good moisture that deep, then keep it shallow or wait for some rain.
  • Planting hill drop gives us a little more comfort with both the big rains and planting deep in dry conditions. Also, the farmers with planters tied to strip till rigs are finding more planting moisture as those ripper shanks bring up moist dirt.
  • I am seeing thick cover hold the moisture very well also. That is a bit of a trick as if you wait too long to burndown, the cover will actually pull moisture down, but as long as you get some rain after burndown, the mulch will hold moisture better.

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