AUBURN, APRIL 26--Farmers
are busy planting across Alabama with the most acres planted in the
Tennessee Valley so far. An agronomist with the Alabama Cooperative
Extension Systems says cotton farmers in north Alabama are taking
advantage of the good weather to complete their planting.
"Some producers in
south Limestone County will be finished planting in the next few
days," says Charles Burmester, who is based at the Tennessee
Valley Regional Research and Extension Center in Belle Mina.
"They got started earlier than other farmers in the
"But I expect by
the end of April, cotton planting will be more than 60 percent
complete in the Tennessee Valley."
Burmester says some
cotton planted early in April is up and developing into good stands.
season has been good so far," says Burmester. "The warm 80
F days balanced out those few days of cold weather. "
He adds that recent cool
nights are probably the cause for slower emergence of recently
Cotton planting is not
as far along in the other portions of the state.
Dr. Dale Monks, an
Extension crop physiologist says about 20 percent of the state's
total cotton crop has been planted.
"It's good planting
weather now," says Monks. "But soil moisture is a growing
concern for farmers in some parts of the state."
Portions of central and
southern Alabama have been dry. Fairhope in Baldwin County is almost
2.5 inches below normal for the month.
"Some farmers in
central and south Alabama are waiting for a rain before they
plant," said Monks. "But we're in better shape this year
with rainfall than we were last year at this time."
By late April 2000, much
of Alabama was sliding into the drought that gripped the state from
late spring into fall.
Monks expects cotton
acreage will be up in Alabama. One estimate is that about 600,000
acres will be planted in cotton this year in Alabama, up 2 percent
from 2000. Cotton is grown across the state, but the densest acreage
is concentrated in the Tennessee Valley.
According to the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, cotton plantings for 2001 nationwide are
expected to total 15.6 million acres, up less than 1 percent from
last year. This would be the largest acreage since 1995 and the
second largest since 1962.