“While the near-term planting forecast is very poor, some farmers will likely roll the dice and stick seed in the ground anyway. As bad as things look in terms of planting conditions, they could turn worse. That’s how they are looking at it, and they don’t want to plant cotton too late into May.
“With cotton planted after May 20, research shows a 2% per day drop in yield. If people do jump in and plant in less-than-ideal conditions this month, part of the risk might be offset by the fact that we can choose from some pretty strong varieties.
“Also, seed quality is quite good this year, certainly compared to 2019 when a good deal of seed was rather marginal. If we had had this year’s weather with last year’s seed, this crop would have been set back in a major way.
“But these lower temperatures can’t be completely ignored, and I know people who planned to plant today but then decided to hold off until we moved past this three-day cold snap – and they hope they’re not messing up.”
Ashley Peters, Peters Crop Consulting, Crowville, Louisiana
“We’re probably halfway finished with cotton planting, maybe a little better than that, and we may push that up to 75% before Friday when it’s supposed to rain again.
“One reason that we’re that far along with cotton planting has to do with our cotton acres being off about 50%. What will be planted this year won’t take long.
“Very little cotton is up yet. The oldest is maybe starting to put on one leaf here and there. Growers planted some of it on the early side, but the majority went in late last week and this week.”
Tyson Raper, Cotton and Small Grain Specialist, University of Tennessee
“A few people started planting over the weekend – Friday and Saturday and then a little into Sunday. But a front moved through late Sunday.
“More rain apparently fell in the northern part of the state, generally a half-inch. Towards our lower tier of counties, the amounts tapered off to less than a tenth of an inch. Enough fell to put things on hold through today (5/4), then another front moved through this afternoon.
“Most growers will hold off on an immediate planting due to cooler weather developing. The forecast says it could drop into the low 40s on Wednesday night, with lower 40s again on Saturday and Sunday. I was told that one forecast said the lows might even ease into the upper 30s.
“All of that will keep everything in the barn for the rest of this week. We can put in a lot of acres in a short time when the weather cooperates, but at this point I’d prefer leaving a lot of seed in the bag.”
Dan Fromme, Louisiana Extension Cotton And Corn Specialist
“Overall, 10% to 12% of our expected cotton acres have been planted. But after five-plus inches of rain last week, we couldn’t work over the weekend.
“The ground is drying up fast now (5/4). In parts of the state, people are in the field again. If the weather stays with us, I think we can plant a significant part of this crop, although next week’s forecast looks less than favorable – more rain and cooler temperatures.”
Ty Edwards, Edwards Ag Consulting, LLC, Water Valley, Mississippi
“One part of the area that I work has already had 4 more inches of rain than the average annual rainfall, and it’s only May 5. Conditions are drier right now, though. With that last system that came through, we received a glancing blow, so it didn’t delay things much.
“A few cotton planters started rolling on Saturday and Sunday, then more moved into the field yesterday. It’s kind of drizzling today, but people will continue planting today and tomorrow, then they will probably pause ahead of colder weather and heavier rain that’s in the forecast for Friday.
“Soybean planters are running, too. In fact, most people are planting both cotton and soybeans if they can scratch up enough people to sit in the tractor seats.
“One grower is still planting corn, and he’s determined to go until May 15. All he’ll raise this year is corn – no soybeans or cotton. He’s concerned about putting in a late bean crop with redbanded stink bugs already in the area. I’ve found them in roadside clover in Yalobusha County not far from my home. With weak soybean prices and the potential cost for treating redbanded multiple times, he didn’t see much meat left on the bone with soybeans.”
Blake Foust, Consultant, Southern Heritage Cotton, LLC, Forrest City, Arkansas
“Everyone is running wide open and making progress with planting. Probably 60% of our intended cotton has been planted by now (5/5), and most of that has happened since last Friday (5/1).
“A small amount of cotton went in the ground a week ago, and it’s emerging now.