By Clint Thompson
Cotton planting season is underway in Alabama. Extension specialist Steve Brown says planting has already started in the southern part of the state. Once it dries out and weather heats back up after Wednesday’s expected low temperatures, the rest of the state will soon follow.
“Looking at the temperatures, we’re going to see some 40-degree temperatures on Wednesday night, I think. That’s not exciting for us. It’s worse as you go north,” Brown said. “I think along the south, they’ll take advantage of having moisture if it’s not too wet.”
According to weather.com, rain is in the forecast for Wednesday, which should bring lower temperatures Wednesday and Thursday nights. Temperatures are expected to drop to 45 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday night in Talladega, Alabama. It’s the same forecast for Huntsville, Alabama, which is located near the Tennessee border.
“I think there will be some (planting) activity before the rain as you go south and certainly by the end of the week, everybody that can, will probably be planting some cotton; with the exception in the far north where they’re still trying to finish up corn,” Brown said. “(Up north) they’re probably waiting to dry out (as well). As you get in the low-lying parts of fields, it’s still probably wet enough that they’ve got to give it some time so they can go all the way through. They don’t want to pick up and work around that unless they just absolutely have to. It’s not so late where they’ve got to take that tactic on planting.”
Farmers Looking to Survive This Year
According to USDA NASS, prospective acres of cotton in Alabama are down 2% at 530,000 acres. This is likely due to the drastic drop in cotton prices. , Cotton futures are set at 55 cents per pound, according to cotton prices. It’s a decrease from 70 cents at the beginning of the year. It’s expected to be a tough financial year for farmers especially when considering corn and soybean prices are dropping as well.
“Clearly, there’s no silver bucket out there in terms of crops. Economics may push acres down somewhat but it’s hard to tell at this point, because in most situations, they are going to plant something. Nothing is particularly attractive today,” Brown said. “They’re looking to survive this year.”