Cotton Crop Delays and Drops

It’s not a good time for cotton growers and the crop.

Uncooperative conditions marked by heavy rainfall and cold spells caused planting delays and stunted growth in many Georgia and US cotton fields. Though the crop has struggled to get going and growing, the outcome doesn’t appear hopeless. Yes, the crop is behind. It won’t be until mid- to late-November before the majority of cotton will be harvested, while usually the majority has been harvested by early to mid-November. Yet, the yield projections are decent, producing 700 to 900 pounds per acre on some fields and 1,200 to 1,300 pounds on others.

But the delays aren’t the only bad news on the cotton crop…

Cotton prices are way down. There are many reasons for this price drop, including heavy speculative long liquidation, a record crop yield in India, weak US export sales, poor US crop conditions and the harvest running behind, and the US government shutdown (which may have caused some traders to become nervous as many cotton growers lost USDA loans and FSA loans).

It’s a bad economic and environmental climate for cotton. Yet, despite the tough weather conditions this year, the grades are coming in well above average. As for the value of cotton, it is thought that some recovery is on the horizon. Time will tell what’s in store for this struggling crop.

Was your government backed farm loan suspended in the wake of the government shutdown? If you’re a cotton grower, you may have to turn to a private ag lending company such as Bankers South. Extra funds are often needed when the harvest begins. Contact Bankers South regarding our AgAmerica Lending Program. These farm loans cover all facets of farming, from smaller hobby farms to vast agricultural operations. When it’s time to plant your next row crop, expand your cotton fields, or refinance, these ag loans are a great option.

Cotton Crop Yield Expected to Fall Below Average

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.

Cotton Influenced by Intense Rainfall

Georgia has received buckets of rainfall this season. Some cotton farmers have welcomed the rainfall, as it has increased growth in many cotton plants. Other cotton farmers, however, are less than pleased because the reverse has occurred. Less fortunate cotton plants have experienced stunted growth.

The excess of moisture has made it nearly impossible for tractors and equipment to travel in some fields. As a result, many cotton farmers are struggling to enter the field to get the necessary work done. Some cotton crop hasn’t even been dressed yet. Some cotton is drowning or completely water logged. In many areas, the crop just isn’t taking off.

Usually, an abundance of rainfall is considered advantageous to the crop. After enduring endless summers of drought, you would think that this rainfall would make a big splash, sparking increased growth and better conditions for the crop. Clearly, this has not been the case for the entirety of the crop.

Some cotton is on schedule and some is very young, creating a broad spectrum of crop. Due to the conditions, many growers, who are normally irrigating during this time or applying plant growth regulator treatments along with insect management, cannot do so. Hence, many cotton growers find themselves behind schedule.

The farmers that are experiencing the toughest conditions have planted their crop on low-lying fields. These particular fields do not drain well, so water ends up drowning the cotton. On the flip side, fields that slope are dealing with washes, which make it difficult for equipment to get through.

There is an effective solution that many farmers are implementing. Though an added expense, many growers have opted to hire airplane pilots to spray the cotton fields with chemicals or fertilizer.

Even though the conditions aren’t ideal, conditions could be much worse. Drought, for example, would be much worse. What farmers are hoping for now is for the “rain, rain to go away” and be replaced by a temporary, slightly drier spell.

As a cotton grower in Georgia, it’s important to have all of your bases covered whether you’re enduring long periods of drought or excess rainfall. Contact Bankers South Ag Lending and Financing, to learn more about our agricultural farm loans to better finance your equipment, irrigation, and operating costs.