- Cotton production was valued at $562 million in 2017.
- There are about 825 cotton farms in the state that produce over 1.4 million bales annually.
Cotton is a major crop in Mississippi. Mississippi producers plant approximately 1.1 million acres of cotton annually. This number seems to fluctuates depending on weather, price of production and current commodity markets.
The highest acreage recorded in Mississippi was in 1930 when 4.163 million acres were planted to cotton. The highest production year was 1937 when 2.692 million bales were produced over 3.421 million acres. The highest cotton yields were received in 2004 with 1034 pounds of lint produced per acre. This same year there were 2.346 million bales produced almost as much as in 1937 with one third of the acreage. This yield beat the previous yield of 934 lbs in 2003.
Many changes have occurred over the last few years in cotton production:
- Boll Weevil Eradication efforts have been successful and the Boll Weevil is no longer a problem pest in Mississippi.
- Transgenic Cotton Varieties containing the following Genes: Roundup Ready, BollGard I & II, WideStrike and Liberty Link have become very popular and the majority of the cotton acres in Mississippi are planted in some type of transgenic variety.
- Growers are realizing the benefits of reduced tillage programs to increase yields and profit margins.
The major insect pests in cotton have also shifted. The Boll Weevil used to be the main pest, followed by Tobacco Budworms and Cotton Bollworms. However, with the introduction of the new technologies and success of the Boll Weevil Eradication program, the Tarnished Plant Bug has now become the number one pest in Mississippi cotton production.
Cotton is and will continue to be a major crop in the state of Mississippi. With the current varieties and technology available average cotton yields in Mississippi may have risen to a higher plateau than in years past. Technological advances in transgenic cotton varieties have allowed cotton to be managed and produced easier than ever before and these advances continue to be major reasons that yields have continued to increase over the past few years.