“In 2011 weather took precedence over every other issue,” said Stanley Winslow, Tidewater Agronomics, Camden, N.C.

“I don’t do crop estimates anymore,” he said, since too many things can happen to a crop from the time it begins to set fruit and when farmers harvest.

“Last year started out extremely hot and dry,” Winslow said. “The crop opened earlier than usual.”

Then Hurricane Irene hit. Early cotton had about 20 percent of the bolls open when the storm hit and most of those were lost. “After Irene, we had another 14 days of hot, drizzly weather that resulted in boll rot and hard lock. We lost a lot of the crop. Some farmers who were harvesting 1,000 pounds per acre before those 14 days of bad weather harvested 700 afterward.”

Winslow said average yield would be from 600 to 700 pounds per acre.