By AgFax.com, AgFax Media LLC
Cotton planting swung into full gear this week across much of our coverage area. As several of our contacts noted, warm and dry weather seemed to have happened suddenly after a cold and miserable spring. Farmers have already made a big dent in the intended acreage. It's likely that a few producers could actually wrap up all or most of their planting this week, weather permitting.
Rain was in the forecast for Friday as we closed out this issue on Wednesday afternoon. How much it rains could influence the final size of the Midsouth crop. If rain lingers and stalls planting and/or cool weather returns, that could work against the final total. But if rainfall amounts are light and farmers can quickly jump in the field again, acreage will stay on an upward trend.
In most states, cotton acres will likely increase over 2017's plantings. Louisiana is an exception.
LOUISIANA CROP REPORTS
Steve Schutz, Ind. Consultant, Coushatta, Louisiana:
"We started planting cotton last Friday. A few growers might actually finish today (4/30) but certainly wrap it up by the end of this week. A lot of beans will go in the ground between now (4/30) and this weekend. If it doesn't rain again, we'll finish most of our planting in 10 to 14 days.
"My cotton acres might increase slightly, but that's independent of the cotton market. We have small fields bordered or surrounded by woods, and the woods have an abundance of wildlife. Wild hogs will tear up corn in those fields and deer will get into the beans, so cotton is the only option. Altogether, that's 200 to 300 acres."
Ashley Peters, Peters Crop Consulting, Crowville, Louisiana:
"A good bit of cotton has been planted. My acres will be somewhat down this year for different reasons. One grower, for example, reduced his acreage so he could have enough harvest capacity to do some custom picking in the fall.
"Overall, I think it will mostly be a wash. Some growers will trim their cotton acres while others who've had no cotton lately will plant a little. A lot of growers had a bad crop last year for different reasons, and they may not make as big a commitment to cotton this year.
"Most corn growers are probably finished with fertilizer or close to it. That's mostly the case with herbicides, too. Some guys are rolling out polypipe. If they miss rain this week, they'll be thinking about running pumps early next week. We'll probably see a large portion of our soybeans planted this week."
Dan Fromme, Louisiana Extension Cotton and Corn Specialist:
"Cotton planting busted loose this past weekend (4/28-29). After cool temperatures and rain, things dried up and equipment began running. Prior to that, very little cotton had been planted in Louisiana. But it's like someone threw a switch over the weekend – temperatures warmed up and cotton planting came to life. That goes for soybeans, too.
"Corn was a nightmare with all the rain events. It rained from the latter part of February through March. Some corn had to be planted in April, which we don't like to do, but then people transitioned into soybeans.
"We planted 220,000 acres of cotton last year. There's no way it will be that high this year. It might range between 160,000 and 180,000 acres. We've had some hard luck in the last couple of years with insects and weather, so yields were down for many growers. A lot of people have been discouraged about cotton. That goes both for farmers and lenders."