Thursday, May 30, 2024

NC State Launches New Cotton Planting Forecast Tool

NC state cotton planting modelA new, very impressive cotton planting conditions calculator has been created by Dr. Guy Collins and Dr. Keith Edmisten with help from the Climatology Office at North Carolina State University. In this post, I highlight a few of the features and provide an example of how the calculator works.

Over the past several days, I’ve visited with individuals using this dry, warm window in very different ways; while several are planting full-speed, others I’ve visited with are waiting until after this next rain. We’ve planted Official Variety Trials (OVTs) in both Jackson and Ridgely and hope to ease back into the field during the first of next week, weather permitting. Soil temperatures have risen steadily over the past week and other than a mid-50 night in the forecast, temperatures look very good.

Like many of you, I often find myself constantly refreshing the forecast to determine whether or not to plant, since the forecast changes quickly this time of year. With that in mind, Dr. Guy Collins and Dr. Keith Edmisten worked with their climatology team at North Carolina State University to develop a very impressive planting conditions calculator which works quite well for our environment.

The tool can be accessed by clicking the above image or directing your browser to

The calculator allows you to either search for your location in the search bar or navigate to your field using the embedded Google Maps window. After selecting your location and hitting submit, the tool pulls the current and forecast conditions from the National Weather Service to determine DD60s for the five next days.

Based on established DD60 guidelines listed in the below table, the calculator then reports planting conditions for the following three days.

DD50 planting data

Results will appear in the window below the map with comments concerning the forecast rating in the adjacent column:

planting calculation resultsOne of my favorite features of the tool is the table of data created by the calculator which includes forecast temperatures, expected DD60s, and precipitation amounts. Note that if an inch or more rainfall is predicted in the three days following planting, a warning will appear in the comments.

The forecast May 4 rain has caused this warning to be included in the above calculator results for May 2, 3 and 4. I really like looking at this data (especially the estimated total rainfalls by day) in the table form.

planting calculation data

There are several other things to keep in mind while using this calculator and many of those are outlined in great detail in a recent post from Dr. Collins and Dr. Edmisten which you can find here:

Take a look at this calculator when you get a chance and observe it through the planting window. I don’t think you will find a more well-designed, user-friendly setup. Kudos to the team at NC State!

Dr. Tyson Raper, University of Tennessee Extension cotton specialist, wrote this article. It first appeared on the UT Crops News Blog.

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