News Filed Under Cotton
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cotton offers strong profit potential for growers even though it no longer rules as king among the state's row crops.
In 2008, two crops are posting more acreage in Mississippi than cotton's predicted 420,000 acres: soybeans, with 2.05 million acres, and corn, with 670,000 acres. Exceptionally strong markets have lured growers away from their reliable favorite and over to grain crops.
Cotton offers strong profit potential for growers even though it no longer rules as king among the state’s row crops.
By Robert H. Wells
Delta Research and Extension Center
STONEVILLE -- A Mississippi State University researcher is working to reduce a growing expense for Mississippi cotton farmers -- managing tarnished plant bugs.
“Some Delta cotton producers made as many as 15 insecticide applications for plant bugs in 2007,” said Jeff Gore, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station research entomologist at MSU's Delta Research and Extension Center.
CLARKSDALE -- Covered only with a coat of rust and adorned with a string of lights from a Christmas past, the vintage machine sitting on the edge of Highway 49 near Clarksdale is a reminder of a revolution that took place in southern agriculture more than 60 years ago.
The M12H International Harvester cotton picker was produced in the late 1940s and was among the second generation of commercially successful cotton pickers to hit the market. It is located on the Hopson Plantation, the site of field tests for mechanical pickers from the 1920s through the 1940s.
By Patti Drapala
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- High production cost and better marketing opportunities for grain crops have ended cotton's perennial run in the top three of Mississippi's agricultural commodities.
Cotton's value in 2007 is almost $415 million, which places the commodity behind soybeans ($511 million) and corn ($438 million) in the row-crop category. It is fifth in the overall ranking of agricultural commodities, according to figures released by John Anderson, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Rains that started the third weekend of October put the state's cotton harvest on hold, but they did not substantially damage the crop remaining in the field at the end of the month.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cotton growers across the state should mark their calendars for the Mississippi State University Extension Service’s 24th annual Cotton Short Course to be held Dec. 11-12.
Cotton continues to be a major crop for the state of Mississippi, and the short course will help producers stay current with recommendations for planting and managing next year’s crop.
MISSISSIPPI STATE –Who does not want to be in “high cotton”? The answer is Mississippi cotton growers.
For the rest of society, being in high or tall cotton signifies prosperity and good fortune, but for this year's cotton growers, tall plants mean less fruit, or bolls.
James Smith is a research professor at Mississippi State University's Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. He said growers are using growth regulators to reduce the vegetative growth.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Darrin Dodds has been named the state’s new cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
Dodds will serve as the primary contact for Extension educational material, technology transfer and programming regarding production of cotton, said Michael Collins, head of MSU’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.
By Robert H. Wells
Delta Research and Extension Center
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's cotton fields are benefiting from timely rains and are off to one of their best starts in recent years, but the crop has significantly fewer acres in 2007.
By the middle of May, more than 70 percent of the state's cotton was planted and 35 percent was emerged, according to a report by the National Agricultural Statistics Service in Mississippi.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi cotton growers may have fewer acres to plant, but not necessarily fewer challenges in 2007.
While environmental conditions will be the biggest factor, the boom in corn acreage may increase certain insect pressure in Mississippi's cotton.
Angus Catchot, entomologist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said corn is one of the primary hosts for bollworms, which edged out tarnished plant bugs as the state's No. 1 cotton pest last year.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cotton's reign as king of Mississippi's row crops remained unchallenged in 2006 as it posted an estimated $583 million production value, but growers paid a high price to bring it to harvest.
Cotton's estimated value rose 9 percent from the state's $533 million production in 2005.
“It was a real frustrating year,” said Tom Barber, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Some people picked the best crop they've ever picked, but it was probably the most expensive crop they've ever paid for.”
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- There are always exceptions from one field to another, but Mississippi's cotton should produce near the five-year average despite the summer's drought, mostly because irrigated land boosted yields.
Mississippi farmers will harvest 1.21 million acres of cotton, which is about 10,000 acres more than last year. The predicted yield average is 833 pounds per acre, which is just under last year's yield and the five-year averages of 859 pounds and 869 pounds, respectively.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cotton across Mississippi is faring better than most of the other row crops, but it is struggling here and nationwide because of heat and drought.
Tom Barber, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said cotton yields will be down and quality will be lower than normal this year.
“About 32 percent of our crop is in the poor to very poor category because of the droughty conditions,” Barber said.
Much of the state's cotton is shorter than usual, which typically limits yield potential.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- In 1946, Harris Barnes Jr. began taking snapshots of his first child, Harris III. Sixty years and three more children later, the Clarksdale resident has a photojournalism legacy that includes three books and hundreds of articles and photos in a variety of farm publications.
Barnes' first book, “Cotton: A 50 Year Pictorial History,” was published in 2002. “The Beauty of Southern Agriculture” followed in 2004, and his latest, “Good Old Days on the Cotton Farm: A History,” is set for release in September.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Hot temperatures in April excited cotton growers with the prospect of an early crop, but the return of cool, wet conditions delayed growth and later plantings.
Peggy Thaxton, associate professor at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, said her research plots were not planted until mid-May.
By Robert Wells
STONEVILLE -- Mississippi State University is using genetically modified plants in its cotton breeding program to create better cotton varieties for producers.
“We hope something great will come out of this to help the farmers,” said Peggy Thaxton, a cotton breeder at MSU's Delta Research and Extension Center.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Boll Weevil Eradication Program and worm-controlling varieties have allowed tarnished plant bugs to skip to the top spot as cotton's No. 1 pest.
Once growers removed boll weevils from their lists of pests, they began planting transgenic Bt cotton to control tobacco budworms and cotton bollworms. Producers reduced sprays for those insects, and this allowed tarnished plant bug numbers to grow.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cotton farmers could explain Murphy's Law by describing their 2005 growing season, but despite everything going wrong that could have, they managed to produce above-average yields.
Mississippi's total cotton crop has a projected value of $697 million. The total production forecast is 2.1 million bales of cotton. With this crop value, cotton maintains its place as the state's most significant row crop and its third largest agricultural commodity. Mississippi's top two crops are poultry then forestry.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Cotton growers, consultants and distributors can get the latest in production recommendations from top agricultural specialists, economists and researchers Nov. 29-30 at the Mississippi State University Extension Service’s 22nd annual Cotton Short Course.
Cotton is one of the mid-South’s most important industries and keeps hundreds of millions of dollars turning over in the region’s economy. Even after record-producing years, growers need the most current recommendations for planting and managing next year’s crop.