Cotton is a major crop in Mississippi. In 2014, it ranked fourth behind poultry, forestry, and soybeans in state commodities, with $403 million dollars of revenue.
Mississippi producers planted approximately 420,000 acres of cotton last year. This number seems to fluctuates depending on weather, price of production, and current commodity markets.
The highest acreage recorded in Mississippi was in 1930 when 4.163 million acres of cotton were planted. The highest production year was 1937 when 2.692 million bales were produced over 3.421 million acres. The highest cotton yields were received in 2004 with 1034 pounds of lint produced per acre. This same year there were 2.346 million bales produced, almost as much as in 1937 with only one third of the acreage. This yield beat the previous yield of 934 lbs in 2003.
Many changes have occurred over the last few years in cotton production:
- Boll Weevil Eradication efforts have been successful and the Boll Weevil is no longer a problem pest in Mississippi.
- Transgenic Cotton Varieties containing the following Genes: Roundup Ready, BollGard I & II, and WideStrike and Liberty Link have become very popular, and the majority of the cotton acres in Mississippi are planted in some type of transgenic variety.
- Growers are realizing the benefits of reduced tillage programs to increase yields and profit margins.
The major insect pests in cotton have also shifted. The Boll Weevil used to be the main pest, followed by the Tobacco Budworms and Cotton Bollworms. However, with the introduction of the new technologies and success of the Boll Weevil Eradication program, the Tarnished Plant Bug has now become the number one pest in Mississippi cotton production.
Cotton is and will continue to be a major crop in the state of Mississippi. With the current varieties and technology available, average cotton yields in Mississippi may have risen to a higher plateau than in years past. Technological advances in transgenic cotton varieties have allowed cotton to be managed and produced easier than ever before, and these advances continue to be major reasons that yields have continued to increase over the past few years.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Questions following a hurricane
- How do you estimate yield by boll counting? PDF
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- Will foliar feeding seedling cotton increase yield?
- What are Mississippi's freeze dates?
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- What percentage of my crop should I plant in Bt?
- What final live plant population should I target?
- What variety, or varieties should I plant?
- Should I replant?
- What should I do about hail damage?
Cotton Disease and Damages
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Tropical Storm Cindy did not help the state's cotton crop that struggled with cool and wet weather all spring.
Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said in mid-June, cotton received about a week of the heat and sun it needs to thrive. Weather before that was not ideal, and rain remains in the forecast.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Although favorable spring weather helped many producers plant their corn, cotton and soybean crops early, most growers now need fields to dry out.
Well-timed early spring rains helped corn producers avoid irrigating their crops, but flooding from recent excess rain will force some to think about replanting with soybeans.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Strong export demand for cotton and soybean is causing Mississippi producers to shift away from corn and rice as they finalize their planting plans for 2017.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Prospective Plantings report released March 31 estimates the state's growers will plant a total of about 4.194 million acres, a 170,000-acre increase over 2016 acreage.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Good seasons for cotton and corn should increase Mississippi's agronomic crops production value by 12.5 percent increase in 2016.
Brian Williams, agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said most crops had a good year despite the extended drought.
"Fortunately, the drought came late in the season when most crops were past the critical stages," Williams said. "Total production was up, and the value on crops was also up, thanks to cotton and corn."
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- There's no reason for cotton farmers to sing the blues this year.
Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said cotton harvest was nearly halfway done by the first week of October. Early yields suggest the state will average more than 1,000 pounds of cotton per acre.
Good prices provided the icing on the cake.