“We’re getting some nice, warm days,” says Bill Robertson, Arkansas Extension cotton specialist. “But those are sandwiched between some really cold, wet days. You go out in shirtsleeves one day and the next you need a heavy coat.”

Robertson believes it will be a while before “we get the soil temperatures we need to plant cotton. There will be farmers out planting as soon as the fields dry up enough – they’ll be out with planters as soon as (the week of April 14).

“As far as I’m concerned, looking at weather forecasts, it may be the following week at the earliest before soil temperatures are warm enough. The ground is still cold. If I didn’t have many acres to cover, I’d wait until after Easter before putting seed in the ground.”

As expensive as cottonseed is, Robertson says getting off to a good start is imperative.

“Soil temperatures need to be 68 degrees mid-morning at 2 inches deep for three consecutive days. When planting, we also recommend that there’s a five-day favorable forecast,” he says.

e-mail: dbennett@primediabusiness.com