Southeastern Cotton Has Had Its Struggles, Too

There’s been a lot of focus on wheat, corn and other grains this year with the non-stop rains. But, grains aren’t the only crops struggling…cotton has had its fair share of problems, as well. Rob Fleming farms cotton in Halifax County, North Carolina:

“We have experienced a lot of rain especially in the month of June where we normally develop our root systems. But with the excess rain they never really had time to develop, they really never had to reach far for water and nutrients. Now that its turned dry, we have no root system and we’ve lost some nutrients and fertilizer.”

Fleming says that boll set in his crop is behind normal:

“We are still very much delayed but we are probably 20% open right now. We will start defoliation the end of next week which is the 18-20 of September.”

It should come as no surprise that heat units are way off says Fleming:

“The plants are really short due to the excess rain and when we have rain its been too late. Some of the crop did catch timely rain and it will make it. This whole entire crop is very much a mixed bag. Weed control has been rough. Our sprays were not timely at all and we had big problems trying to get in front of the weeds.”

Even utilizing hand labor at times says Fleming.

While still very early, Fleming is anticipating about ¾ of a bale yield loss this year:

“I think we are going to see some 500 pound cotton. I think if we see 800 pounds I would love it, but I think it will be near to 750. Last year we were 1180 so we are really off.”

Fleming outlines his plans for getting his fields back into shape for 2014:

“We will start soil sampling immediately and I think we will do some new samples by zones. We will try to get some Lyme on very quickly. Next week before defoliation we will try to get the cover crop established.”

We’ll visit further with Halifax County’s Rob Fleming later in the season. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.