Julia F. Smith


Florida planters cultivated both short staple and Sea Island cotton. The most common varieties of short staple cotton grown throughout the lower South were Green Seed, Mexican, Petit Gulf, and Mastadon. Florida growers preferred the Mexican to other “short” cotton seed. Under favorable conditions, it yielded about 1,500 pounds of cotton to the acre. In other cotton culture areas the yield was not so great; for instance, in the fertile black belt of Alabama yields of 800 to 1,000 pounds of short staple per acre were obtained. The yield from less fertile regions was not so great. In the South Carolina Piedmont, from 100 to 300 pounds was considered average. In 1852, J. D. B. De Bow estimated the average for the whole South to be 530 pounds of short staple, or seed cotton, per acre.