Cotton Planting Conditions May 16, 2021

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Conditions are looking much better. You can see below that we are close to bumping that morning soil temperature up to where we would like at 65°F.

Soil temperature chart image

The forecast for the rest of May looks good for finishing up this year’s cotton planting as you can see below. We recommend you continue to check with N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services about cool germination values for your seed lots (explained in the last paragraph). Seed quality can still be important in good conditions as some of you remember from 2019.

Planting conditions spreadsheet image

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 NCDA&CS Cotton Seed Quality Testing Program continues to be a huge success in 2021 and has already significantly exceeded the number of samples that the program evaluated in 2020. Now that planting has begun, use this information to make the best decisions possible, especially when planting in less-than-ideal conditions. It’s likely too late at this point to have results available for making planting decisions, but there is still value in having an Official sample evaluated, 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.”