Cotton planting will be way down from ’12


U.S. cotton farmers intend to plant 9 million acres of cotton this spring, down 26.7 percent from 2012, according to the National Cotton Council’s 30th annual early season planting intentions survey.

Upland cotton intentions are 8.8 million acres, down 27 percent from 2012, while extra-long staple intentions of 203,000 acres represent a 15 percent decline.

Assuming slightly above average abandonment in the Southwest region due to the dry conditions, and all other states set at historical averages, total upland and ELS harvested area would be 7.65 million acres, which is 15 percent below planted area. Applying state-level yield assumptions to projected harvested acres generates a cotton crop of 12.86 million bales, compared with 2012’s total production of 17 million bales.

“Planted acreage is just one variable determining final production,” said Gary Adams, vice president of the National Cotton Council. “Weather is a more significant determinant, particularly weather developments in the southwestern US. With this in mind, we could seethe US crop ranging from a low of 9.5 million bales to a high of 17 million bales.”

Southwest growers, including in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, are indicating total upland acres of 5.23 million, down 24.4 percent from last year. The respondents planting less cotton said they intend to move those acres into grain sorghum, wheat and corn, in that order. The survey indicated some producers are planning to increase cotton, with some of those acres coming from grains, but the larger reason underlying the increase appears to be weather. Growers unable to plant last year due to drought conditions are expecting to sow more acres in 2013.

China and man-made farmers are the two major factors influencing 2013 cotton production, according to National Cotton Council economists.

“Measured on the basis of pounds of cotton fiber, the 2012 US retail market fell to the lowers level since 1996, amid a fourth consecutive year of declining market share,” Adams said. Calendar 2012 retail cotton consumption is estimated to be the equivalent of 17 million bales of fiber.