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 fluctuate 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
- How do you estimate potential yield loss? PDF
- Will foliar feeding seedling cotton increase yield?
- What are Mississippi's freeze dates?
- Can you tell me about sprayer calibration?
- What is the recommended seeding rate for cotton?
- What should be the soil temperature at planting time?
- 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
The tarnished plant bug is Mississippi’s No. 1 most economically damaging insect in cotton, costing an estimated $42 million in yield losses plus millions more spent to control the pest.
VERONA, Miss. -- Producers come across issues each season that need to be addressed, whether they require new research on a problem or a commodity specialist who can help identify timely solutions.
For those people, February is the month to speak up. Specialists and scientists with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station are available specifically for them at three different MSU Research and Extension Center locations throughout the state during annual Producer Advisory Council meetings.
“Snow” appearing on the sides of highways and bare ground visible for miles is a sure indication that row crop harvest in Mississippi is well underway. As of early October, the majority of the 2022 crop was already harvested, although much work remains for certain crops.
Most cotton in Mississippi got off to an excellent start in May, received the heat needed in June and July, and now is ready for sunny skies so growers can harvest a potentially above-average crop. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates 56% of the crop is in good or excellent shape, with another 38% estimated at fair. As of Aug. 28, bolls were opening on an estimated 25% of the crop.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Portions of central Mississippi and the lower Mississippi Delta saw more than 1 foot of rain between Aug. 21 and 25, and flash flooding will affect some agricultural commodities in these areas.
Torrential downpours dropped 8-13 inches of rain in much of Leake, Neshoba, Scott, Kemper, Hinds and Newton counties, as well as parts of surrounding counties, prompting road closures and evacuations.
Following its 2020 cancellation, the Mississippi State University Extension Service’s Row Crop Short Course hosted 675 people from Mississippi and neighboring states.
Macon producer sees success with Extension collaboration
Ask Paul Good how he has succeeded in agriculture for more than 70 years, and he gives two pieces of advice: pay attention to even the smallest details when scouting crops, and take advantage of all available educational opportunities.
For the fourth year in a row, Mississippi cotton farmers brought in more than 1,000 pounds per acre. Altogether, the Magnolia State had 420,000 acres—41 percent more than in 2015—and ranks third in the nation in cotton acreage, behind only Texas and Georgia.
Eupora producer earns national award
Billy Tabb got a reality check in 2003 when he told his father he wanted to farm.
“My dad is a lifelong farmer, so I was hoping he would help me get started. He told me to go to the FSA office and get a loan,” Tabb recalls. “When I got there, the lender gave me a stack of papers as thick as the Bible and wished me good luck.”
Variety trials exemplify Extension’s service to growers through pandemic
For 10 years, a small portion of Moody Farms in Tishomingo County has been sectioned off for cotton variety trial plots. That streak continued in 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.