It’s hard to believe it’s already time to plant cotton again, but the season is upon us.

As we make preparations for planting the 2013 cotton crop, there are many important things to consider.

Since so much is invested in a cotton crop it is absolutely imperative that we protect this investment by taking all precautionary measures to establish an optimal stand with good seedling vigor.

Although we cannot control the environment, (which is often the most important factor in stand establishment), there are a few things we can control in order to promote and establish an optimal stand.

Most areas in Georgia have experienced adequate rainfall throughout the winter and early spring, which has replenished sub-soil moisture in most fields. This hopefully will help get the 2013 crop off to a good start. However, as we have seen before, soil moisture can be depleted quickly if hot and dry conditions occur.

Once our normal planting window (late-April through June 15) begins and conditions (both temperatures and moisture) are suitable, many growers will likely begin planting, especially in dryland fields with proper moisture in the planting zone.

Irrigated fields are generally planted throughout all times within our planting window, due to the flexibility that irrigation provides.

In most cases, our June planted cotton tends to be double-cropped behind winter small grains. Regardless, when planting cotton planted between June 1 and June 15, rapid stand establishment and un-delayed growth and development are critical to ensure adequate time exists to make a substantial crop.

Therefore, irrigation is usually key in promoting rapid emergence and retention of critical fruit.