, Farm Journal National Editor
Georgia's cotton farmers, with an apparently good crop in the fields, hope Mother Nature cooperates by sending no tropical storms their way and a late freeze, as well.
Now second in national cotton production, with 980,000 acres planted this year, according to USDA's figures, Georgia's crop maturity varies greatly. Some cotton is already open while other fields are still blooming.
"We had good planting conditions to start the season, then it got wet and it took a while to get back in the fields,” says Richey Seaton, Georgia Cotton Commission executive director.
"What we're hoping is that it will not be a wet fall and there will be a late freeze. We've got a really nice looking crop. We had a good bit of worm pressure in some areas but farmers are optimistic they're going to harvest a good crop,” Seaton says.
USDA projects Georgia's yield at 841 lb. per acre, which would be a state record.
Seaton thinks the state's cotton acreage will hold in the million-acre range next year.
"Corn and soybeans can do a lot better in the Mississippi Delta than here. We have some good producers, but it's hard for our farmers to compete with the Midwest on those crops,” Seaton says.
"I'm confident our acres will hold. Our industry is viable and the infrastructure is good. If we can continue to hold acreage at this level, our gins will be in good shape. A lot of our gins are co-op gins and those farmer-members will grow cotton to support them as long as it is economically feasible,” Seaton says.