First Freeze Threatens Cotton Crop

By  | 

Marianna- By late fall, fields have historically been white with blooming cotton, but that has not the case this year. Regional Agriculture Agent, Josh Thompson explained that farmers got a late start on the planting season.

"I'd say most of the cotton has at least 50% open bowls," he said.

But come Thursday morning, those fields could be white...with frost.

"Tonight it's expected to get down to 32, [degrees]' Thompson said, "so, we'll definitely have some frost damage due to that."

Thompson told us it had kept local farmers busy, trying to protect the 50% of bowls that haven't opened.

"It's real hard to say what kind of yield loss you might expect. It will be kind of a field by field basis."

Some farmers sprayed a bulb opening agent last weekend which may save their crop. But, Thompson said even that was not a guarantee.

"As far as the actual harvestable crop, if we get a real hard freeze, this could be the end of what is going to be produced," he said.

But Thompson said that didn't necessarily mean the end of cotton farming altogether.

"It may kill the bowls that are there, but cotton is a perennial crop. It will start to regrow again after that if we don't continue to have freezes after freezes" he said.

If Thursday's freeze doesn't kill off the crop, Thompson anticipated growers could be picking cotton well into January.

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station. powered by Disqus