Cotton is an important crop in Missouri. In 2018, southeast Missouri counties produced lint and seed valued at $324 million, though the number of cotton-planted acres varies each year with commodity prices.
Missouri cotton farmers have been early adaptors of technologies to increase cotton yields, reduce input costs and conserve resources. Many changes have occurred in recent years, including:
- For a long time, cotton was transported from fields to gins in trailers. Farmers improved efficiency first by using modules and then by making round bales, such as the one pictured on this page.
- Conservation tillage has replaced the moldboard plow. In the fall, farmers plant winter wheat cover crop in row middles to avoid cotton seedling injury the following spring from blowing sand.
- Farmers schedule irrigation with smartphones, using weather-based soil water balance programs and soil moisture sensors.
Find timely information on research-based cotton production tools and practices on this site.
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News & articles
- Published: Wednesday, April 8, 2020
COLUMBIA, Mo. – For now, the University of Missouri Soil and Plant Testing Laboratory remains open.“We understand the essential role the lab plays in supporting Missouri's agricultural industry,” said Robert Kallenbach, MU Extension senior ...
- Published: Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Missouri agricultural scientists working in cover crops share in a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They will work with people in 30 organizations across the country and around the world. “The five-year ...
Publication date: Sept. 1, 2020
Removing leaves and opening bolls with harvest aids are important components of a management plan for producing high-quality cotton fiber. When not properly managed, harvest aids may reduce yield and quality. Some of the benefits of defoliation ...
Publication date: Nov. 4, 2019
Windy days in late May can be a serious problem for Delta cotton farmers in southeast Missouri and northeast Arkansas. Young cotton plants are most vulnerable to injury from blowing sand at this time. Weather records at Clarkton, Missouri, show that ...
Publication date: Oct. 7, 2019
The proper fertilization of cotton is difficult to determine because many variables can affect development and production. Anything that causes plant stress will affect nutrient uptake. Some factors involved are: soil texture, drainage, field ...
Publication date: Sept. 24, 2019
Spectrographic analysis of plant tissue is a relatively new and accurate method for determining levels of major and minor elements in growing crops. However, good results make proper sampling of crops necessary. Keep the following points in mind when ...
Publication date: Sept. 24, 2019
Tillage operations performed prior to planting cotton should make a firm, well-drained seedbed that will provide a warm environment for seed germination and vigorous seedling growth. Since cotton is a semi-tropical, perennial plant, it grows very ...
Publication date: Sept. 25, 2019
The cotton boll weevil, Anthonomus grandis grandis, was the most important pest of cotton in much of America’s Cotton Belt. Fortunately, it was eradicated in the United States by a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program in cooperation with ...
Selected byproducts — cotton, published by the University of Georgia Extension.