“I’m in a big cotton area. My growers are set up for cotton. Most of them have more than one round-module picker and all of them are involved in some way with a gin, and you can’t just shut all that down. They’re going to grow cotton, and they know they’re guaranteed loan. We just hope for the best — make a pretty good and cheap crop, and maybe the prices will come up.
“I’ll still have a lot of cotton, but I am going to have a few more soybeans and corn than last year.”
Bob Griffin, Griffin Ag Consulting, Jonesboro, Arkansas:
“We are doing quite a bit of work in the field, and it just really started (4/7). An unbelievable number of farmers are putting up rows, and a lot of them had the planter following the bedders. Plenty of corn is going in the ground right now.
“It’s been wet. Several farms have already had 25 inches of rain since January 1. Last year, we ended up with 72 inches, which is at least 25 inches above normal.
“As of right now, everyone is finishing their burndown applications. Most burndown treatments are going out with an airplane as opposed to ground because it’s been so wet. Growers are putting out fertilizer, too, and disking if they’ve got ruts leftover from last year.
“Bean planting, if it hadn’t already started, will follow shortly. Within the next two weeks, I’d say, they’ll start planting cotton. If it doesn’t rain here in the next couple of days, they will be going wide open on planting corn. And the amazing thing with all these planters is, they will have the corn planted in a couple of weeks. We could be through planting everything in three to four weeks. I have farmers who can plant between 1,000 to 2,000 acres a day.
“My farmers really talked about planting more cotton early on. However, with cotton prices so low, that’s not very attractive, but beans at $8 and corn at $3 are not attractive options either. There’s really nothing that looks good right now.
“I think cotton acres will be close to the same as last year. They may be down just a little, but I don’t see the peak that I expected back in the winter. The corn acres will be up a little if it stops raining and farmers can plant it. Beans will likely be off because $8 beans are terrible. I don’t see a lot of profit potential this year.”
Ty Edwards, Edwards Ag Consulting, LLC, Water Valley, Mississippi:
“Very little has been done around here. To my knowledge, no corn has been planted (as of 4/7) and certainly nothing else has been planted. As it looks now, cotton acres will be about the same as 2019. It was going to be a little higher than last year, but I don’t know if that’s going to come to fruition. I think cotton will remain about the same, corn will go up and soybeans will go down.
“I believe that growers are going to be a little wiser about cotton variety selection. Last year, we planted some varieties that just didn’t perform well, so we may go back to several of the previous varieties we used. They’re more proven, and we know what they’re capable of doing. We tried a few newer varieties, but some of them let us down last year.
“With soybeans, my growers are starting to worry about the redbanded stink bug due to the lack of cold weather over the winter. They remember having to deal with that animal a couple of years ago and how much money it cost them. It makes soybeans not pencil out quite as well.
“With corn, the price is usually decent, and these guys need to get back into the rotation that we were in for years. They moved away from it, and they’ve seen yields drop accordingly.
“Our irrigated acres continue to grow slightly. As far as the hill irrigation goes, there’s not a lot more that we can do. We’ve got the old original pumping units and sand filters that were put in five to 10 years ago that they’re still using, but there’s not a lot of new systems going in. We’ve applied for well permits and they’ve been denied every time.”
Steve Schutz, Independent Consultant, Coushatta, Louisiana:
“We have a little corn planted. Armyworms – not fall armyworms but the true armyworms – are everywhere. With one producer, they were tearing up his Bt corn. While the armyworms ragged it up, they did die.