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Southwest upland cotton area projected at 4.9 mn acres
14
Apr '08
U.S. cotton acreage in 2008 is projected to decline for the second consecutive year. Based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Prospective Plantings report which surveyed farmers at the beginning of March, farmers intend to plant only about 9.4 million acres to cotton in 2008.

The initial area estimate is 1.4 million acres (13 percent) below plantings in 2007 and the lowest cotton area since 1983 when government programs reduced acreage to 7.9 million acres.

Upland cotton plantings are projected at nearly 9.2 million acres-also the lowest in 25 years-while extra-long staple (ELS) cotton is expected to decline to 204,000 acres, the lowest in 5 years. These estimates will be updated at the end of June in USDA's Acreage report.

According to Prospective Plantings, U.S. upland cotton area is forecast to drop below 10 million acres for the first time since 1986. An area decrease was expected once again for 2008 despite higher cotton prices, as competing crop prices were significantly higher for the upcoming year.

Although U.S. upland area is expected to decline in each region, most of the decrease is coming from the eastern half of the Cotton Belt as the Delta and Southeast combined for a 1-million-acre decrease.

The Delta acreage is projected at 2 million acres, down 29 percent from 2007 and the lowest since 1983. The Southeast cotton area is also expected to total 2 million acres in 2008, 10 percent below last season andthe lowest since 1993. Upland cotton area in the Southwest is projected at 4.9 million acres in 2008, less than 4 percent below 2007 but the lowest in 25 years.

Fewer alternative crops are viable in this region, which has pushed the region's share of upland area to about 54 percent for 2008, the largest since 1983. In the West, upland acreage continues to decline and is forecast to fall about 140,000 acres (35 percent) in 2008 to 269,000 acres.

The West's upland area forecast would be the lowest since 1922 and only a third of the 10-year average; upland area has moved to permanent crops recently.

United States Department of Agriculture

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