Soil temperature at Rocky Mount was 65 degrees at 8 this morning, but we still have a few more days of cool weather in front of us before things start to warm up in the last days of April. This cool front will drive soil temperatures down below where we would like to see them for cottonseed germination. Check soil temperatures if you want to start back planting on April 28 or 29. Waiting until soils warm up on April 30 would be less risky.
Good news is that the 8-14 day outlook from NOAA has changed since last week to more normal temperatures for North Carolina. If this holds up we should be able to get a lot of cotton planted in early May.
Whenever you are planting in less than ideal conditions you need to pay close attention to planting depth and seed quality (warm and cool germ results). Growers can get updated planting conditions information for their area by visiting here.
N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Cotton Seed Quality Database
The database can be found on the Cotton website under the link “Calculators and Decision Aids” on the left side toolbar, or directly at NCDA&CS Cotton Seed Quality Database. As we have stated in previous articles, it is absolutely critical to know the seed quality for all seed lots that you purchase.
If you have a complaint regarding poor emergence during planting season, the first thing that we or our county agents will ask for is the NCDA&CS germination test results. Without these results, there is little we can do to help you.