The cotton harvest is running early in the upper Southeast and that is good news. The bad news, however, is that yields will probably be down because of poor growing conditions during the summer months.
The upper Southeast cotton crop will be picked earlier than in any year in the past quarter century or more. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen.
Earliness is not limited to cotton in the upper Southeast.
Corn, what survived record heat and sporadic severe drought is early.
Soybeans, typically combined in September and more intensely in October and November are equally early.
Peanuts may be the exception, though they may be a split crop with some early peanuts coming in very early and some late-planted peanuts coming in very late.
Across the area, cotton specialists contend the early cotton crop isn’t going to be good news for growers, but may not be a bad thing in all cases. Some crop mixes will benefit from the early harvest and some will see the optimum window of harvest closed somewhat.
In general, cotton experts in the upper Southeast contend the early crop will mean average or below average yields and quality in most cases.