“Once growers get past the second week of May, they will need to consider planting early maturing varieties. The window for getting all the things done that need to be done to a cotton crop and getting it out before frost becomes a challenge,” he says.

Typically. cotton is planted from mid-April until the first week or two in May. With so much of the corn crop not planted when the storm system struck on April 16, there is some speculation some growers may forego planting corn and plant cotton, if they can find the extra seed.

Already, North Carolina growers were expected to plant 750,000 acres of cotton, an increase of 36 percent over last year.

In Virginia the increase is expected to be even larger, a 51 percent increase, topping 125,000 acres.

The big increase in cotton acreage in North Carolina and Virginia, combined with smaller increases in neighboring states, has put a strain on seed supply. So far, as of early May, it appears most growers got enough seed, though not always in their top 2-3 choices of variety. How much seed is left over for late-planted cotton is uncertain.

Soybeans

Historically, soybeans have been the last of the major row crops to be planted in the upper Southeast. In both Virginia and North Carolina a sizable percentage of the soybean crop is planted behind wheat or barley.

While the impact of the April storm system appears to have the least affect on soybean acreage, delayed planting of other row crops and the slow harvest process for wheat could have either a positive or negative affect on soybean acreage.

There is no doubt wheat harvesting will be slowed down as growers pay careful attention to spotting debris left in their fields from the April storm system. Having the elevation of the combine will make their task easier. However, all along the 200 or so mile path of the storms, growers will be on edge as they combine wheat.

Charles Hall, executive director of the North Carolina Soybean Association says the jury is still out on how much impact the April storms will have on soybean production in the state.

At the time the storm hit, only about a third of the corn acreage projected for North Carolina had been planted. Typically by mid-April more than half the state’s corn crop is planted. How much of intended corn acreage will be planted to corn remains to be seen. 

Delays in planting will clearly push many farmers near the late planting date after which yield potential is affected.