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.
In Southeast Virginia cotton consultant Wendell Cooper says he’s never seen cotton on such a large scale mature so early. “It’s all due to the extremely high temperatures we had early in the season — cotton got off to a tremendous early start and areas that had moisture produced an early crop,” Cooper says.
Earliness in Virginia cotton is a sporadic thing — some years some areas are earlier than others, Cooper notes. “However, this year cotton is early across the state and more uniformly early than any crop I’ve seen in nearly 30 years of working cotton crops in Virginia and North Carolina,” he adds.
“Our cotton crop is not going to be the disaster we thought it would be back when we were in the grips of record heat and extended periods of drought. On the other hand, yields will be a far cry from what we’ve had the past couple of years,” Cooper says.