Last year’s near record yield average (second only to 2004) of 980 pounds and blowing past the long-dreamed-of $1 price has generated newfound enthusiasm for cotton, Dodds says.

“Averages for my yield trials in the Delta were 1,258 pounds and in the hills 911 pounds. I expect the final state average will be just under 1,000 pounds.”

It was an excellent performance in a season that saw a broad range of growing conditions, he says.

“We had the best start for a crop in 10 years, then an extremely hot and dry June-September, followed by great harvest weather. June had 39 days worth of heat units compressed into 30 days.

“You’ve always heard it normally takes 60 days for cotton to bloom; last year, we were seeing blooms in 50 days.”

With renewed interest in cotton this year, Dodds cautions growers to choose varieties based on yield potential and performance on their soil types — and not necessarily on the technology package.