50 DD-60s to Cotton Emergence

— Written By Curtis Fountain and last updated by

From:  Curtis D. Fountain
            Agricultural Extension Agent – Field Crops

Based on the National Weather Service Kenansville forecast, predicted DD-60s for 5 days following planting (if planted today) total 45. This translates to very good cotton planting conditions.

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 (assumes adequate soil moisture). 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

Keith Edmisten, NCSU Extension Cotton Specialist, planting comments can be found here.

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 2014 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).


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Extension Agent (Agriculture – Field Crops)
NC State University, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
N.C. Cooperative Extension  —  Duplin County Center
PO Box 949  Kenansville, NC  28349
Phone:  910-296-2143      Fax:  910-296-2191