Planting Cotton Late
The weather during our optimum planting period has not been real cooperative. Tomorrow (May 25) is the insurance cutoff for planting purposes. Cotton planted within 5 days after the final planting date will still be insured. The per-acre production guarantee will be reduced by one percent per day for days 1-5 of the late planting period.
The first chart below show that cotton yields normally do not drop off drastically until some time in June. The second chart show yield data over the past year up into the first week of June resulted in little to no yield reduction.
Many growers are switching over to planting soybeans with the latest round of cool weather and rain although some are still planting or replanting cotton. Later planted cotton is often successful but there are several things to be aware of when planting late cotton. The later you plant cotton the less time you have to make the crop or for the crop to compensate for periods of drought, therefore late planting is less risky on soils with better water holding capacity. Cotton, unlike soybeans, is a day neutral plant and therefore earlier varieties are better suited to late plantings. If you are planting late on droughty soils you may want to look at the variety calculator to see how well the varieties you are considering do in lower yield conditions.
Lastly, you will want to do everything you can to avoid maturity delays due to factors like thrips and utilize Pix where needed to promote early maturity.
Figure 2. Effect of planting date on yield 2014-15. (I=irrigated, -I= non-irrigated)