Virginia Cotton Holding Up Better Than Expected to Drought

Cotton specialist says yields not as good this year as in recent years, but better than they could be.

Published on: Oct 9, 2007

Drought usually causes high micronaire cotton, says Virginia Tech cotton and peanut Extension Specialist Joel Faircloth. But, although Southeastern cotton growers have seen more than their fair share of drought this year, mic values are lower than expected.

"This is surprising considering drought typically results in high micronaire cotton," Faircloth says in Cotton and Peanut Brief, a report he releases periodically. "It could be that because these areas of the country experienced an early season drought, the bolls were generally set later in the season. In Virginia, we still suspect that the late season drought has increased the potential for higher micronaire, although we are not too concerned about discounts from high micronaire at this point."

Both high mic (micronaire) and low mic can result in discounts for cotton producers. A mid-range of mic values is preferred. Faircloth points out cotton mic indicates maturity and fiber fineness.

Cotton yields appear to be better than earlier expected. Faircloth estimates yield at about 650-700 lbs per acre.

"Considering the yields observed in other crops this year, cotton upholds its reputation of withstanding a drought better than most crops," he says.