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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

Cotton with sprouting plants lies on muddy ground.
Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Corn, Cotton, Grains, Soybeans October 5, 2018

Most of Mississippi’s corn and rice crops had been harvested when prolonged, late-September rains soaked much of the state, but the wet weather could not have come at a worse time for soybeans and cotton.

A pink cotton bloom sits among green leaves.
Filed Under: Cotton July 27, 2018

As most cotton across Mississippi is setting bolls ahead of schedule this year, some fields look fantastic and others are struggling, depending on the weather and irrigation.

A wife and husband stand in a field with cotton rows.
Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Corn, Cotton, Peanuts, Soybeans July 26, 2018

Lonnie Fortner has been named the Mississippi winner of the 2018 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award.

Green baby cotton plants poke through soil.
Filed Under: Crops, Cotton May 18, 2018

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Growers may be on their way to planting more cotton in Mississippi soil than they have in 11 years, despite a late start.

Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist for the Mississippi State University Extension Service, estimated that growers will plant 700,000 acres of cotton this year. If that much gets harvested, it will be the best total since 2006, when the state produced 1.2 million acres of cotton. Last year, Mississippi cotton producers harvested 625,000 acres.

Filed Under: Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Green Industry, Organic Fruit and Vegetables, Other Vegetables, Corn, Cotton, Nuts, Peanuts, Soybeans, Equine, Goats and Sheep, Poultry, Lawn and Garden, Forestry, Seafood Economics, Seafood Harvesting and Processing March 7, 2018

ELLISVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State University representatives met with agricultural clients in Ellisville recently to discuss research and education needs for 2018. More than 115 individuals attended this year's event.

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