Cotton crop yield in Southeast regions – Georgia, Alabama, and Florida – is projected to fall short of previous yield forecasts. But how short? Is it enough for cotton growers to worry?

So far, there is not a concrete answer in response to the yield question. However, while an actual yield prediction has not been ascertained, it is still enough to cause many cotton growers to worry.

What’s the culprit for the probable low yield?

The uncontrollable: Weather.

Various environmental factors were working against the cotton crop this season.

Heavy rainfall prevented cotton growers from planting on schedule. Storms caused excessive fruit shed. Cooler weather stunted growth, even preventing some plants from maturing. Finally, excess moisture created a friendly environment for fungal proliferation.

To counteract this unanticipated fungal growth, cotton growers applied fungicide to battle the fungus causing target spot.

There is great debate on the extent that target spot impacts cotton crop yield. While target spot is perhaps a factor resulting in this year’s projected low yield, heavy storms, which knocked off many plants, are probably the more likely explanation for low cotton yield.

While some of the cotton is still prospering (resulting from late planting), it is quickly running out of optimal 60-degree weather days as the fall season is just around the corner.

As for the final yield assessment, growers will not know for sure until harvesting is complete.

The good news? The cool, wet conditions may allow dry-land cotton to do well compared to previous years.

Are you a cotton grower in Georgia, Alabama, or Florida? If you’d like to discuss your farmland financing options – including agricultural loans and ag farm credit – contact Bankers South Lending & Finance, LLC.