12/15/04 — Wayne County sees record cotton yield but quality is only average

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Wayne County sees record cotton yield but quality is only average

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on December 15, 2004 1:59 PM

Wayne County has possibly the highest cotton yield this year it has ever had, but farmers are seeing only average quality.

Bob Pleasants, county extension agent, said farmers are mostly through with harvesting cotton, and most reported outstanding yields. The cotton tended to be thicker, which mills do not like. But farmers will still be able to sell it, he said.

He estimates that the county average will be 975 to 1,000 pounds per acre, compared to a normal year of around 700 pounds per acre.

Some areas, especially in the northern part of the county, will average over 1,000 pounds an acre. The state average is about 847 pounds per acre.

Areas like Fremont, Pikeville, Patetown and Rosewood will have high yields because those areas have better soil.

Pleasants said the weather was favorable for good yields. The crop set a lot of fruit in August, and it had plenty of time to mature. The bolls are large.

He said some farmers were slow in harvesting and did not start until mid-October. That caused the crop to be tough and difficult to separate out the leaves.

As to soybeans, he said, farmers have harvested about 80 percent of their crop. They would normally be about done by now, but the weather has been a hindrance. This week has been better, with cold, clear nights. That makes the plant drier and easier to pick.

Pleasants said he has heard from some farmers that it will be a good soybean crop.

But commodity prices are still low, he added. Farmers have finished harvesting sweet potatoes, but were a little late in finishing.

According to the N.C. Department of Agriculture, state cotton production is expected to total 1.28 million bales, which is 23 percent more than last year. Growers are expected to harvest 725,000 acres.

Soybean production is expected to total 48.5 million bushels, up 16 percent from last year. It will be the largest crop since 1982.

The yield is expected to average 33 bushels an acre, a record high for the state.

Harvested acres are forecast to total 1.47 million, an increase of 70,000 acres from last year.