Virginia Cotton: Planting Season Begins, Slowly

Cotton planting. ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

There was an old rule back in the day that you had to wait until after April 20 to start planting cotton in Virginia and bordering North Carolina counties.  There was an emphasis on planting early to avoid insect damage and we were also considered the most northern area for successful production.  But you did not want to plant in front of cold nights or heavy rain. 

  • Things have been different for a while now to the point that there is no longer the urgency to push planting into the roller coaster temperatures of April.
  • Plus fall temperatures have been warmer. And we still do not want to plant in front of cold nights or heavy rain.
  • The Bt genes in our cotton varieties reduce the urgency of beating the bollworm intensity that build up in late summer.
  • All of this information is really just fun facts. Ultimately each year stands alone, so we have to look at how the events are shaping up.
  • One thing we can see is that we are not expecting the roller coaster temperature scenario April usually brings us.
  • In fact, the temperatures expected this week look good enough to plant some cotton. I would expect good emergence and a relatively healthy seedling on any cotton that was planted through Wednesday.
  • The first part of this week will be better than the weekend.  However the drop off in temperature for the weekend will still provide adequate conditions.
  • Friday is the only marginal day and no days are poor.  Rainfall on Friday is expected to be much less than we have seen for the last couple of weeks.

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