Cotton yields could reach record

Tobie Blanchard, Kerns, David L.

A harvester picks cotton at the LSU AgCenter Macon Ridge Research Station in Winnsboro. This cotton field is part of a variety trial. Photo by Tobie Blanchard (Click on image for downloadable version.)

News Release Distributed 10/15/13

WINNSBORO, La. – As cotton harvest in Louisiana comes to an end, farmers are seeing record high yields, although the cotton acreage is at a record low, according to David Kerns, LSU AgCenter cotton specialist.

“I think we stand a good chance of breaking our pounds-per-acre record. Yields have been outstanding,” Kerns said. “I’ve seen dryland cotton picking as much as three bales to the acre. I’ve seen some four-bale irrigated acres. Those are exceptional yields.”

Farmers planted about 128,000 acres. Kerns said much of that was concentrated in areas that typically see higher yields.

Good weather also helped. Kerns said conditions were nearly perfect during the growing season.

“Temperatures weren’t exceptionally hot, and so we retained a lot more fruit in those conditions, good rainfall, insects weren’t real bad. We were successful in managing those pests,” he said.

Kerns said growers saw thrips and plant bugs, but not enough to damage the crop.

Weather has been ideal during harvest as well. Kerns said dry and warm condition helped with defoliation of the crop, and with no serious storms, the quality of the crop is good.

The low acreage continues to be a concern for the state’s cotton industry. With low cotton prices, Kerns doesn’t see acreage increasing much next year.

“It boils down to simple economics,” Kerns said. “The farmers are making more money growing corn and soybeans than they are cotton right now, so that is what they are going to plant.”

Several years of low cotton acreage is affecting the infrastructure that supports the crop and the rural economies that depend on it.

Tobie Blanchard

10/16/2013 12:08:13 AM
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