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Still a Bit Early to be Planting Cotton in the Carolinas

With such a warm March this year, cotton producers were really itching to get into the field with a planter. David Parrish, Executive Vice President, North Carolina Cotton Producers Association says the way April turned out, it was good advice to have held off:

“You know anytime you have a warm march, everybody gets excited about planting, they want to get out there and get going…it’s not been a long, hard winter but guys are ready to get out there and get going planting.

You know, we’ve had a cool April, and that’s certainly not good for cotton planting. But, just to be honest it today’s world, you know, with the prices of seed, and everything else, planting is a high price, and you really have to be careful about planting too soon, in my opinion.”

With the last two weeks of April having been cool and wet, Parrish says that jumping in the field just because it’s now May, may not be the best decision either:

“I still think it may be a little bit early. And I say that because the varieties have changed a lot in the last several years, I mean we know that. Just from my experience in talking to guys last year, for instance, it seemed that the later planted cotton did better. Now, to talk to this one it was this reason, to another it was another reason, certainly there were a lot of different factors last year, the storm that came through being one of them. So, there’s all types of factors that you face all through the years, but last year later planted cotton seemed to do better.

With the size of equipment you can get over your land quicker, maybe you can afford to start a week later than you could have a few years ago. So, a lot of different factors, but again, I think with the price of seed and everything like it is, you really have to be careful about planting too early.”
Irrigation has seen something of a boom in the Carolinas this year, and Parrish says that he anticipates quite a few irrigated cotton acres this year:

“That’s correct, I’m hearing more and more of our growers are putting in irrigation. But, the saying I believe holds true is that irrigation can’t make a crop but it can hold what you’ve got. So, even when you’ve got irrigation, I mean we saw that last year in Georgia, they were very dry, but they were having problems that they were having to use so much water early on just to get the crop up, and then they didn’t’ have enough to keep it going. So, again, irrigation is definitely a help, but you still have to have some timely rain.”

Executive Vice President, North Carolina Cotton Producers Association, David Parrish. 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.