About 10 days ago, USDA had Missouri Bootheel cotton planted acreage at 5 percent.
“I’d say it was a bit lower – maybe 3.5 to 4 percent,” says Andrea Jones, University of Missouri cotton specialist. “But it was close.”
Following huge rains, Jones hopes that percentage is as low as possible.
“We’ve gotten about 4.5 inches of rain since last Thursday (April 27). On Thursday we had about half-an-inch fall. The big rains came in Saturday night and all day Sunday. They’re now confirming we had a tornado here on Saturday night.”
It’s supposed to begin raining again in the Bootheel on Wednesday (May 3). That isn’t all that is threatening the acreage already planted.
“We’re also having cooler temperatures – for the next three nights the temperatures are supposed to be in the 40s. So, unfortunately, I think everything that was already planted will be lost. If we were at 5 percent planted, all of it will have to be replanted.”
Unfortunately, if you need to replant, the best cotton varieties “are limited and allocated. You’re probably not going to get your top choices to replant because the seed is in such short supply.”
The cotton that has been planted is spread out around the Bootheel, says Jones. “There’s some in Sikeston, some around Bernie and some in south Dunklin County.
“Right now, the fields are underwater and muddy. If you’re looking to keep a stand, the next three nights of 40-degree temperatures are going to make that extra hard. That promotes disease typically and it’s hard to see how that won’t happen.”
Regardless, Jones strikes a note of optimism. “Here’s the thing: cotton growers don’t get too down. We’re still okay as far as far as optimum planting date, which is May 6. We’ve done lots of studies on this and there’s time to pull this off.
“We’re not late, so don’t abandon ship. We should be able to get into the field (the second week of May) and with the planter capacities we have, that’s fine. If we can get five or six dry days, we’ll really cover lots of ground. There’s plenty of time to make good cotton.”