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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

Rows of peanut plants.
Filed Under: Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Corn, Cotton, Peanuts, Rice, Soybeans, Wheat, Forages July 6, 2020

Cotton and corn acreage in Mississippi are more than 30% below March projections, while growers of soybeans and peanuts planted much more than initially forecasted.

Leaves of young cotton plants.
Filed Under: Agriculture, Corn, Cotton, Rice, Soybeans May 29, 2020

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Row crop growers in Mississippi used a relatively dry May to make up for planting time lost earlier in the spring due to wet weather and soggy fields.

As of May 24, planting progress for the state’s four major row crops was slightly behind their five-year averages but ahead of where it was at that time in 2019.

Filed Under: About Extension, Cotton April 14, 2020

The Mississippi State University Extension Service has a new cotton specialist.

Brian Pieralisi was appointed to that role on April 1. He replaced Darrin Dodds, who took the helm of the university’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.

Graphic showing 2020 planting intentions
Filed Under: Agriculture, Corn, Cotton, Peanuts, Rice, Soybeans, Forages, Coronavirus March 31, 2020

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Weather always plays a role in the spring planting decisions of Mississippi row-crop producers, but the market impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is another variable they will have to consider in 2020.

A tall, green weed in the foreground with a cloudy sky and cotton field in the background.
Filed Under: Crops, Cotton March 2, 2020

STONEVILLE, Miss. -- Pathologists with Mississippi State University will be monitoring a relatively new plant disease in state cotton fields once the growing season is in full swing.

Cotton leafroll dwarf virus, or CLRDV, was first reported in Alabama in 2017. It is closely related to a cotton virus known to occur in South America. Historically, that virus has caused up to 80 percent yield losses in Brazilian cotton fields.

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