Scorching temperatures and dry conditions have Alabama cotton farmers feeling the heat this summer. Extension specialist Steve Brown said cotton production throughout the state looked promising two weeks ago. The heat has taken its toll on cotton farmers.
“Two weeks ago, I thought we had an exceptional crop. I think we still have a very good crop, but had we gotten a good, broad rain across the state over the last two weeks, I think we would have made an extraordinary crop,” Brown said. “We still have a good crop. It’s up and down in places. Some have suffered more than others. But the last two weeks have been pretty punishing.”
According to the US Drought Monitor, various parts of Alabama are classified as ‘abnormally dry.’ Most of those counties are in the northeastern part of the state and in the southeast corner. Parts of Henry County, Dale County and Barbour County are listed as ‘moderately dry.’
While rains are in the forecast, the damage may have already been done on some of the state’s cotton acreage.
“The forecast for this week looks pretty good. Most people are going to get some rain this week. We’re excited for that,” Brown said. “It may be a little late on some of the earlier-planted cotton.
“It’s going to hurt the top crop on some of this early-to-mid planted cotton. It hurt but it wasn’t a death blow. It took some of the top off our hopes and expectations.”
According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Alabama cotton growers planted 470,000 acres this year.