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United States cotton production is expected to rise
Apr '11
United States cotton producers are expected to plant 12.57 million acres of all cotton which includes Upland and American Pima in 2011. On March 31st, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the prospective plantings report for 2011.

The Upland cotton acreage is expected to be 12.31 million acres and the farmers are expected to plant 253,000 acres of American Pima. The percentage increase in the all cotton planting from the 2010 season will be 14.58.

Texas is expected to plant 6.1 million acres of Upland cotton, which is 550,000 acres higher than the last year acreage of 5.55 million acres of Upland cotton. Georgia is expected to plant 1.45 million acres of Upland cotton, up from the last year planted area of 1.3 million acres.

The largest acreage increase for all cotton will be in Texas with an increase of 548,000 acres followed by North Carolina with an increase of 200,000 acres compared to the 2010 acres.

In communicating with this scribe, Mr. Steve Verett, Executive Vice-President of Lubbock based Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., said “ 6.1 million acres of cotton projected by USDA is just about what we had expected. The final planted number in Texas could be a bit more than 6.1 million acres depending on the number of acres of failed wheat due to the drought and if planting rains come in April and May allowing some of those acres to be planted to cotton”.

Mr. Roger Haldenby of Asia Pacific Cotton based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and a consultant to Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., said, “the overall increase in cotton planting intentions can most certainly be attributed to the significantly higher prices for our crop in the December 11 and March 12 futures markets over recent years. However, continued strength in the grain markets may have persuaded growers in southeastern U.S. to remain with their alternate crop choice rather than switch back to cotton. This could account for the 12.6 million acres now forecast by USDA to be shy of the 13 plus million acres foreseen by some.”

Additionally, Mr. Verett commented, “increased cotton prices certainly have been the primary impetus for those increased acres, but the dry conditions in Texas have influenced some of the switch from other crops. But remember, regardless of the number of acres planted, due to the drought conditions we are now facing in Texas, total production will remain at risk the whole growing season depending on timely rainfall.”

The top five cotton producing states in the U.S. based on the latest intended planting survey are Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Arkansas and Mississippi.

According to the latest USDA report, the United States is estimated to enhance its cotton acreage by 15 % in 2011. The harvested acreage will of course depend on weather conditions this season.

Seshadri Ramkumar, Texas Tech University

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