Influences and Plant Responses Across the Belt

Thomas A. Kerby


The December USDA crop estimate predicts a disappointing U.S. average of 592 lbs/A lint. The Southwest and West have yields that are 10 to 15 above the average yield of the last 10 years. The Southeast and Mid-South are projected to be 9 to 20 percent below their 10 year averages. Plant map data was available for each of these regions. In the Western half of the country, good yields were associated with above normal early boll retention and a normal length of the fruiting cycle.

The Eastern half of the U.S. crop is divided into three general groups: near normal early retention; low early fruit retention; and a combination of high early retention accompanied with premature cut out. Late planted fields had a more difficult time holding early bolls. There were many fields with far below normal early season retention. Plant bugs were not detected early. In these fields with excessive early fruit loss, the effective fruiting cycle was shifted later into the season when temperatures were least favorable and the greatest drought conditions existed. Under these conditions they simply were not able to compensate. Other fields had good early retention, but very limited growth with the result that they cut out prematurely. Even the best fields were down in yield. In these fields, early boll set was normal and the length of the effective fruiting cycle was near normal. Boll counts were there, but yield was not. This reduction of approximately 10 percent can correctly be attributed to the hot summer. Without good boll set, the length of the season was extended by more than two weeks and yields were decreased far more than 10 percent.

Reprinted from Proceedings of the 1994 Beltwide Cotton Conferences pg. 5
©National Cotton Council, Memphis TN

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Document last modified Sunday, Dec 6 1998