News Filed Under Cotton
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Record-breaking heat is forcing Mississippi producers to manage crops more carefully than normal to bring what looks like successful yields to harvest.
Temperatures in the Delta, which is home to the majority of the state’s row crops, have set as many as five record highs during the first week of August.
Nancy Lopez, a physical scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Stoneville, said some daily records from Greenville to Vicksburg were broken consecutively in August. July also was unusually hot across most of the state.
By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Successful planting got Mississippi cotton off to a strong start, and prospects look good for the crop as long as growing conditions and demand remain favorable.
Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said 2010 has been one of the state’s most successful cotton plantings yet.
“It all went off without a hitch for the most part and wrapped up the first week of June,” Dodds said.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Weeds that have developed resistance to the commonly used herbicide glyphosate are forcing row crop farmers to change their production methods to battle the problem.
Five weeds found in Mississippi have developed resistance to glyphosate, the active ingredient found in Roundup herbicide. Since 1996, this broad spectrum herbicide has been used extensively as an easy and effective way to control weeds in row crops that have been genetically modified to withstand the chemical.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s young cotton crop has already faced a list of challenges including flooding, late planting, insects and now drought.
“It’s been a challenge from the word go,” said Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “We went from an almost perfect planting season last year to one that seems to have continually fought us this year.”
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Spring rains have been kind to most Mississippi farmers, and conditions are offering cotton one of its best starts in recent years.
Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said most of the state’s crop has been slightly ahead of schedule.
“The weather has not caused a significant amount of replanting, but there are always exceptions, and if you are one of those farmers, it is significant,” Dodds said. “We also have had some fields needing replanting because of herbicide damage.”
By Linda Breazeale
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cotton will not be returning to the throne in Mississippi, but growers are slightly more enthusiastic about this former king than they have been in recent years.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its annual prospective plantings report March 31, and Mississippi producers are predicted to plant 340,000 acres of cotton. That is an increase of 11 percent from 2009 but is a far cry from the 1.2 million acres planted in 2005 and 2006.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Cotton production costs continue to climb in most categories with one exception – boll weevil control.
When the boll weevil eradication program first entered Mississippi’s eastern counties in 1997, cotton growers were assessed $20 per acre. As the program progressed westward, first-year assessments ranged from $20 to $24 per acre. Initially, weevils were also in the fields robbing growers of yields.
By Rebekah Ray
Delta Research and Extension Center
STONEVILLE -- Black root rot, a fungal disease that infects cotton and soybeans, may be affecting more soybean acres across the Delta, and Mississippi State University researchers are working to prevent its impact.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi agriculture has changed a great deal in the last 25 years, and the challenges of 2009 reminded many farmers that there is still much to learn.
To address the growing needs of the state’s farmers, the Mississippi State University Extension Service redesigned its 25-year-old annual cotton short course and offered a two-and-a-half day meeting dedicated to all state row crops instead. The expansion to other crops and the recent historic losses helped triple attendance numbers over recent years.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s cotton crop hasn’t caught a break in recent years, and reduced acreage and devastating weather at harvest pushed the 2009 crop’s estimated value to just $97.8 million.
In 2008, the crop was valued at $250 million, so the estimated 2009 value is less than half what it was a year ago. Cotton had a recent high of 1.2 million planted acres in 2006, but fewer than 300,000 were planted in 2009 and only 365,000 acres in 2008. In 1930, the state planted a record 4.2 million acres of cotton.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – A three-day short course in December will provide information to Mississippi cotton, soybean and corn producers working to be successful in challenging years.
Registration for the Dec. 7-9 Row Crop Short Course is free until Nov. 20, and $40 a person after that. The event is hosted by Mississippi State University’s Extension Service and will be held on campus in the Bost Extension Center.
By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi’s small cotton crop was looking good by late August, but with prices below break-even levels, producers will hold their breath until harvests are in.
John Michael Riley, Extension agricultural economist, said cotton harvest cash prices in Mississippi in mid-August were about 53-55 cents a pound. MSU crop budget estimators indicate the “average Mississippi producer” needs prices above 62 cents a pound to be in the black in 2009.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Mississippi’s 2009 cotton is shaping up to be more a story of how the mighty have fallen than another chapter in the reign of King Cotton.
A poor outlook on market prices and continued high input costs led many producers to move away from cotton, and wet weather during the April and May planting window kept even more acres out of cotton production. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates Mississippi has 270,000 acres of cotton in 2009, the lowest on record. For comparison, Mississippi had 1.2 million acres of cotton in 2006.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Fewer cotton acres in Mississippi mean less demand for cotton ginning, and whole communities in the Mississippi Delta are feeling the impact of the loss of their livelihood.
A cotton gin is the piece of equipment that separates the cotton seeds from the cotton. Eli Whitney mechanized this process for the first time in 1793.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – It took only about 10 days to plant 40 percent of the state’s cotton crop this year, but farmers are only planting about a fourth of what they planted just three years ago.
“Forty percent of a 300,000-acre crop is quicker to plant than 40 percent of a 1.2 million-acre crop,” said Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service.
Soil conditions were ideal, and producers worked quickly before rains rolled across the state the first weekend of May.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Once this year’s crop is out of the fields, cotton producers can turn their attention to 2009 with a two-day short course in December.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service is offering a cotton short course Dec. 1-2 on campus in the Bost Extension Building. The annual short course will provide information about cotton production with the goal of making growers more productive and profitable.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A small insect pest that drove many cotton farmers nearly to desperation in its heyday is now in desperate straits of its own.
For most of the summer, the state's extensive trap network found only one boll weevil, which was in a Tunica County trap on June 11. Scouts added two more weevils to the 2008 collection in mid-October from traps in Chickasaw County.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cotton farmers are trying just to put the season behind them after a year of struggling with the crop once called “king” in Mississippi.
Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said much of the state's crop looked good until early August, when tropical weather brought untimely rains to areas of the state.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Repeated, drenching rains from storms Fay, Gustav and Ike brought Mississippi's cotton crop from an anticipated above-average yield to one that appears to be average or below.
“With cotton acres being down, we really needed to hit a home run this year to retain the acres we had and to keep all the gins and the cotton industry infrastructure,” said Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
He said the state's cotton crop as a whole looked above average by Aug. 1, but it didn't last.