What is in this article?:
- 2012 cotton crop remembered as record-breaking, heart-breaking
- North Carolina hits 1,000 pound mark
- Credits no-till
• Perhaps the most frustrating part of cotton production, moving toward the 2013 planting season, is the sense of frustration among growers.
• Other than weather factors, they seem to have more than adequate tools to manage weed resistance problems, diseases and other production challenges, yet marketing uncertainties beyond their control continue to force growers to reduce acreage.
TWO BALE PER ACRE cotton was the state average across the Southeast and Delta in 2012.
North Carolina hits 1,000 pound mark
Last year growers in North Carolina averaged just under 1,000 pounds per acre, and when all is said and done with ginning, they might reach the 1,000 pound mark. Despite cuts in acreage North Carolina growers still harvested about 580,000 acres of cotton.
Florida and Alabama combined to produce about a half million acres of cotton and together averaged about two bales per acre — a little more in Florida and a little less in Alabama.
Target spot, which first occurred in Alabama in 2011, showed up in both states last year and likely contributed to some yield loss in 2012.
Among the Southeast states, Virginia produced the lowest acreage of cotton, but the highest yield.
Veteran grower Mike Griffin in Suffolk, says the 2012 crop surprised him in terms of how good it turned out to be. “I knew we had a good crop of cotton, but I was shocked when we started seeing the final yields,” he says.
Last year Virginia growers harvested 85,000 acres of cotton, down from 2011 totals and down significantly from 100,000 or more expected prior to planting last year’s crop.
Despite planting fewer acres, Virginia growers averaged 1,045 pounds per acre last year.
South Carolina harvested about 300,000 acres of cotton and probably had the widest variation in yields from one part of the state to another among the Southeastern states.
A lot of that variability says Luray, S.C., grower Bud Bowers is likely due to extreme dry weather at planting time in some parts of the state.
“We had the hardest time we’ve ever had getting our cotton planted. We’ve got irrigation on most of our cotton land, but we still didn’t have enough moisture to get a uniform crop planted when we wanted to plant it,” Bowers says.
Despite the delays at planting time, he says the 2012 crop was one of the best he’s produced.
In the Dela, production was uniformly high, despite some significant weather-related challenges, primarily the result of Hurricane Isaac.
Despite averaging about 1,000 pounds of lint per acre region-wide, a recent survey of cotton industry experts indicates the Delta may have the biggest decline in cotton acreage in 2013.
Arkansas growers harvested the most acres of cotton and had the highest average state yield among the five cotton growing states in the region in 2012.
Growers in the state harvested 580,000 acres of cotton, with a statewide average of 1,084 pounds of lint per acre.
In Mississippi, recent High Cotton Award winner Johnny Little, who farms near Holcomb, Miss. says several weather related problems, including wind and rain from Hurricane Isaac appeared to have hurt his crop, but final production was much better than expected.