Cotton – 50 DD-60s to Emergence

— Written By Curtis Fountain and last updated by

To:  Duplin County Cotton Interests

From:  Curtis D. Fountain

Agricultural Extension Agent – Field Crops

May 1 is here! Is it time to plant cotton? Based on the National Weather Service Kenansville forecast, predicted DD-60s for 5 days following planting (if planted today) total 8.5. The predicted low temperature for Thursday night is 50 degrees F, Friday night 47 degrees F, and Saturday night 49 degrees F. This translates to very poor cotton planting conditions.

Please remember cotton is a tropical plant. Late April-early May North Carolina conditions are typically not tropical. Also please remember cotton is a perennial plant. While you grow it as an annual, the plant “thinks” it has more than 2 years of life ahead. Why should it be in such a hurry to emerge/grow?

Note 2013 NCSU Cotton Information pages 19-20. Figure 4-1 reveals NC cotton planting date studies for a 5-year period. This figure notes cotton yields begin to drop below early planting levels approximately 40 days after April 29 (June 11).

Please select “windows of opportunity” for cotton planting. Review the 5-day weather forecast daily. This approach may mean planting some days and “parking” the planter other days. Avoid planting cotton if the air temperature is predicted to be below 50 degrees F within 48 hours. Normally, cotton emergence will occur after 50 DD-60s have accumulated. The DD-60s formula for each day is:

(High Temperature degrees F + Low Temperature degrees F) / 2 – 60 degrees F

Relationship Between Predicted DD-60s & Planting Conditions
Predicted DD-60s For 5 Days Following Planting  Planting Conditions
10 or less very poor
11-15 marginal
 16-25 adequate
26-50 very good
more than 50  excellent


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