Cotton is a major crop in Mississippi. In 2014, it ranked fourth behind poultry, forestry, and soybeans in state commodities, with $403 million dollars of revenue.
Mississippi producers planted approximately 420,000 acres of cotton last year. This number seems to fluctuate depending on weather, price of production, and current commodity markets.
The highest acreage recorded in Mississippi was in 1930 when 4.163 million acres of cotton were planted. The highest production year was 1937 when 2.692 million bales were produced over 3.421 million acres. The highest cotton yields were received in 2004 with 1034 pounds of lint produced per acre. This same year there were 2.346 million bales produced, almost as much as in 1937 with only one third of the acreage. This yield beat the previous yield of 934 lbs in 2003.
Many changes have occurred over the last few years in cotton production:
- Boll Weevil Eradication efforts have been successful and the Boll Weevil is no longer a problem pest in Mississippi.
- Transgenic Cotton Varieties containing the following Genes: Roundup Ready, BollGard I & II, and WideStrike and Liberty Link have become very popular, and the majority of the cotton acres in Mississippi are planted in some type of transgenic variety.
- Growers are realizing the benefits of reduced tillage programs to increase yields and profit margins.
The major insect pests in cotton have also shifted. The Boll Weevil used to be the main pest, followed by the Tobacco Budworms and Cotton Bollworms. However, with the introduction of the new technologies and success of the Boll Weevil Eradication program, the Tarnished Plant Bug has now become the number one pest in Mississippi cotton production.
Cotton is and will continue to be a major crop in the state of Mississippi. With the current varieties and technology available, average cotton yields in Mississippi may have risen to a higher plateau than in years past. Technological advances in transgenic cotton varieties have allowed cotton to be managed and produced easier than ever before, and these advances continue to be major reasons that yields have continued to increase over the past few years.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Questions following a hurricane
- How do you estimate yield by boll counting? PDF
- How do you estimate potential yield loss? PDF
- Will foliar feeding seedling cotton increase yield?
- What are Mississippi's freeze dates?
- Can you tell me about sprayer calibration?
- What is the recommended seeding rate for cotton?
- What should be the soil temperature at planting time?
- What percentage of my crop should I plant in Bt?
- What final live plant population should I target?
- What variety, or varieties should I plant?
- Should I replant?
- What should I do about hail damage?
Cotton Disease and Damages
Mississippi has a good-looking cotton crop in most places, but acreage is down to 520,000 acres because of a rainy planting season and unfavorable market conditions.
Cotton and corn acreage in Mississippi are more than 30% below March projections, while growers of soybeans and peanuts planted much more than initially forecasted.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Row crop growers in Mississippi used a relatively dry May to make up for planting time lost earlier in the spring due to wet weather and soggy fields.
As of May 24, planting progress for the state’s four major row crops was slightly behind their five-year averages but ahead of where it was at that time in 2019.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service has a new cotton specialist.
Brian Pieralisi was appointed to that role on April 1. He replaced Darrin Dodds, who took the helm of the university’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Weather always plays a role in the spring planting decisions of Mississippi row-crop producers, but the market impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is another variable they will have to consider in 2020.
John McKee refers to the Mississippi State University Row Crop Short Course as a “convention of rock stars.”
Lonnie Fortner was the first row-crop producer in southwest Mississippi to use many of the same precision ag technologies that are now commonplace.