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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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Man wearing a reflective safety vest looks at a white drone he is holding at shoulder height. A toppled pine tree and empty agricultural field are in the background.
Filed Under: Crops, Corn, Cotton, Soybeans, Farming, Disaster Response April 18, 2019

HAMILTON, Miss. -- Determining the extent of tornado damage to farms in Monroe County will take weeks, but video shot from flying drones will speed up the process.

Mississippi State University Extension Service personnel have been assisting in relief efforts since the morning after an EF-2 tornado on April 13 damaged more than 140 homes in Hamilton, claiming one life and injuring 19 others.

A man in work clothes, baseball cap and wading boots stands in water outside his boat holding a paddle.
Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Corn, Cotton, Soybeans, Farming, Community, Disaster Response April 11, 2019

Near a bridge that connects Issaquena and Sharkey counties, Waye Windham leaned toward the side of his boat and dipped a paddle down into flood water to gauge its depth.

The water was too deep for the paddle to reach the ground. Riding with Windham was Lacey Little, who tried a much longer wooden post.

Filed Under: Cotton March 21, 2019

A Mississippi State cotton agronomist is the new head of the university's Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. Darrin Dodds, a 12-year veteran of the department, takes the helm April 1.

Filed Under: Crops, Corn, Cotton, Grains, Rice, Soybeans, Farming October 29, 2018

The 2018 Mississippi State University Row Crop Short Course will feature speakers from seven states covering topics ranging from nematode management in cotton and soybeans to the potential effects of new tariffs on the state's agricultural industry.

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.

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Farmweek, Entire Show, October 9, 2015
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Season 39 Show #14

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Cotton Agronomics