Cotton Planting Conditions May 8, 2021

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Conditions for the coming week do not look good as you can see estimated planting conditions for Rocky Mount below.

Planting conditions chart

DD 60 accumulation is nowhere near ideal and even more concerning is our soil temperatures are rapidly dropping below the range need for cotton planting. Below are the soil temps for May 8 at 8 a.m. Soil temps should drop even lower with the cool nights predicted for the next week. You can check soil temperatures for your area as we go through this cool spell. We will also post soils temperature maps on our cotton Facebook page.

Soil temperature map

Temperatures for the 8-14 day (May 15–21) outlook are predicted to be normal as you can see below. If these temperature predictions hold up, our daytime temps should start pulling soil temps into the mid-60’s by around Monday the 17. The week starting Monday the 17 should see high temperatures in the low to mid-80s with lows in the low 60’s. This type of weather pattern should be able to maintain good soil temperatures.

8 to 14 day temperature map

The table above is for Rocky Mount and based on the 10-day forecast. We include this as a general guide. As spring weather forecasts can often differ across the state, we strongly encourage you to get a more local forecast that can be easily updated daily using the new NC State University Cotton Planting Conditions Calculator. The calculator can be found on the Cotton website under the link “Calculators and Decision Aids” on the left side toolbar, or directly at the Cotton Planting Conditions Calculator page. We encourage growers to use and monitor the calculator twice daily to account for potential changes in weather forecasts for your region or farm, especially when conditions are right on the line between acceptable or questionable. Simply click on your farm location on the map, and click “submit” for your local planting conditions forecast. A 5-day DD-60 forecast for the current day and the following day will appear with a rating for planting conditions (based on real-time National Weather Service forecasts) as well as some comments you may want to consider, in addition to the overall rating for planting conditions.

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Cotton Seed Quality Testing Program continues to be a huge success with approximately 728 samples collected to date. Approximately 509 samples are completed with test results available in the database, with many more tests underway, and more samples on the way to the lab. Now that planting has begun, use this information to make the best decisions possible, especially when planting in less-than-ideal conditions. It’s not too late to have seed tested, although results will not likely be available prior to planting for cotton planted in the next 2-3 weeks. Regardless, it never hurts to have a sample collected for testing in case a grower has a complaint (official samples only applicable for this purpose. See previous articles for information on official vs service samples). The NCDA&CS Cotton Seed Quality Database can be found on the NC State Extension Cotton Portal, under “Calculators and Decision Aids.”