any agricultural or speculation investment has associated risks. and cotton prices were down then . even in a excellent market, the actual production of cotton could be risky. it was the potential for profits that made cotton king. those that overextended themselves with credit in the pursuit of more land and more slaves and failed to meet their targets, lost. but what was the break even point for the plantation owner who has no mortgage, owns his slaves who have already harvested many seasons, and produces most of his needs on the plantation ?