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What final live plant population should I target?

In Mississippi, cotton plant populations can vary from 30,000 to 55,000 plants per acre without seriously affecting yields, but 40,000 to 50,000 plants per acre is a good final target. This translates to a desired final population of 3 to 3.5 plants per row foot in 38-inch rows. Growers should avoid high plant populations because they can, 1) shorten the boll loading period, 2) decrease drought tolerance, 3) increase fruit shedding, and 4) increase number of small bolls. Extremely low populations should also be avoided because they can, 1) encourage vegetative development and large plant size, 2) delay reproductive development, 3) shift more bolls to outer fruiting branch positions and to vegetative branches, and 4) increase boll size and micronaire in key fruiting positions.

Seeding rate should be based on number of seed per row foot, rather than pounds of seed per acre. For example, if planting conditions are good and the desired population is 45,000 plants per acre, then the standard germination percentage should be a good predictor of emergence. If the standard germination is 80 %, then 45,000 divided by 0.80 equals 56,250. This means that 56,250 seeds should be planted per acre (same as 4 seeds per row foot in 38-inch rows) to attain a final stand close to 45,000 plants per acre (3.3 plants per row foot in 38-inch rows). Consider the scenario that the weather unexpectedly turns cool. Then, you expect field emergence to be close to the cool germination percentage (60 % in this case). For example, you would expect a final stand of about 33,750 [56,250 x 0.6] (2.5 plants per row foot in 38-inch rows), which is still within the acceptable range.

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News

Close-up of a cotton plant.
Filed Under: Agriculture, Cotton August 30, 2021

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- When the calendar turns to September, many who call Mississippi home long for cooler temperatures to relieve the summer’s heat, but the state’s cotton growers want high temperatures and dry weather to drag into October.

Water stands in a corn field
Filed Under: Crops, Corn, Cotton, Soybeans, Disaster Response June 24, 2021

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- MSU Extension agents will be assessing agricultural damage from early-June flooding until well into July, but preliminary estimates indicate losses could break records.

The 2019 Yazoo Backwater Area flood caused $617 million in crop damage alone. It looks like the more recent flood will exceed those losses.

Heavy rainfall, primarily north of U.S. Highway 82, throughout the second week of June waterlogged crops during critical growth stages. Flooding caused complete or partial losses in many fields.

 A man in a hat kneels among straw to point at tiny plants.
Filed Under: Crops, Corn, Cotton, Rice, Soybeans May 20, 2021

Because it is the first crop planted starting in March, Mississippi corn is in much better shape than other row crops struggling with the challenges of wet, cool weather.

Graphic showing 2021 planting intentions
Filed Under: Agriculture, Corn, Cotton, Rice, Soybeans April 1, 2021

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi row crop growers are planning to plant more soybeans and corn in 2021 than they did last year but not as much cotton, rice or hay.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, publishes its planting intentions report each year at the end of March. This report provides a state-by-state estimation of how many acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton farmers will plant in the upcoming growing season.

Filed Under: Agriculture, Corn, Cotton, Grains, Rice, Soybeans, Sweet Potatoes, Agri-tourism, Beekeeping, Equine, Goats and Sheep, Poultry, Swine, Turfgrass and Lawn Management, Vegetable Gardens, Forestry February 2, 2021

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Each February marks the occasion for producers to share their research and programming needs with Mississippi State University agricultural specialists in person.

To comply with COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, the opportunity will be extended virtually this year.

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