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US producers to plant 13.63 mn acres of cotton in 2012
Feb '12
Upland cotton intentions are 13.34 million acres, down 7.5 percent from 2011, while extra-long staple (ELS) intentions of 287,000 acres represent a 6.4 percent decline. The survey results were announced at the National Cotton Council's (NCC) 2012 Annual Meeting being held February 10-12 in Fort Worth.

With assumed above-average abandonment in Texas and Oklahoma and all other states set at historical averages, total upland and ELS harvested area would be 10.88 million acres, which is 20.3 percent below planted area. Applying state-level yield assumptions to projected harvested acres generates a cotton crop of 18.30 million bales, compared with 2011's total production of 15.67 million bales.

NCC Vice President Gary Adams said that, "Final production will be very dependent on weather developments, particularly in the southwestern U.S. If conditions worsen, we could see the U.S. crop be two million bales lower than early-season expectations."

The NCC survey, mailed in mid-December 2011 to producers across the 17-state Cotton Belt, asked for their intended 2012 cotton acreage as well as for their intended plantings of other crops in 2012. Survey responses were collected through mid-January. Adams noted that, "The expected drop in cotton area is consistent with current market signals. Since 2011, cotton prices have weakened relative to competing crop such as corn, soybeans and peanuts."

Survey respondents throughout the Southeast indicated a decline in acreage in all states. In percentage terms, the largest declines are expected to be seen in Alabama and Virginia down 17.6 percent and 16.0 percent, respectively. In Alabama, cotton acres are shifting to corn, soybeans and peanuts. In Virginia, cotton acres are shifting into soybeans.

Georgia's expected acreage is off 12.7 percent as corn and peanuts are the beneficiaries of the reduced cotton acreage. Growers in North Carolina indicated an 11.3 percent decline as corn, soybeans and peanuts are increasing area. Both Florida and South Carolina are reporting intentions 10.0 percent below year-ago levels. In those states, cotton acres are reported to be moving into peanuts and soybeans.

In the Mid-South, survey results show that growers intend to plant 2.30 million acres, a decrease of 6.9 percent. With the exception of Missouri, all states indicate fewer acres of cotton relative to 2011. Cotton acres in Missouri are up slightly at 2.3 percent. Of the remaining states, Louisiana is showing the largest decline at 17.7 percent. Results indicate a move to both corn and soybeans. With a decline of 9.0 percent, Arkansas shows the next largest drop, with those acres moving to corn. Declines in Mississippi and Tennessee are 6.5 percent and 5.0 percent, respectively. In both states, growers are opting for more acres of corn at the expense of cotton.

Southwest growers are indicating the smallest percentage decline with 5.3 percent fewer acres, lowering the regional total to 7.62 million acres. In aggregate, Kansas growers indicated essentially no net change in cotton area as the state total is expected to remain at 80,000 acres. Oklahoma acreage is showing a 10.0 percent decline as acres are moving to wheat. For Texas, respondents intend to reduce area by 5.1 percent. The relatively small drop in area could reflect the ongoing drought concerns and the need to maintain acres in a relatively drought-tolerant crop.

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