Looks like 2014 will be a good year for cotton growers, the harvest more robust than in past seasons.
“2011 was kind of the epic year,” Steve Verett executive vice president from Plains Cotton Growers.
That’s when the drought took hold. It impacted cotton production on the South Plains for four years but its effects not as severe last year and the harvest is proof.
“Looks like we’re going to make something close to 3.4 million to 3.5 million bales which will be the biggest crop that we’ve had in our area since 2010,” Verett said.
But that’s still not good enough. In 2010 producers brought in one of the biggest harvests in the history of the region 5.3 million bales. Kenneth Day with the USDA says this years crop pales in comparison, but who’s complaining?
“Overall it’s still a fairly small crop, it’s just better than the three years prior to this. The big rain around memorial day which really got us off to a right start,” Day said. “We had a very good October, we had some rain this September and we had a very good October for sunshine and warmth which helped finish the crop off. That allowed us to make a couple more acreage that might not have been made in the last couple of years.”
Things may be looking up for cotton growers on the production end but on the sales side prices still not at what they expect.
“Prices are at the lowest level they’ve been in probably the last five years as well,” Verett said. “So that’s really the troubling thing that’s facing our growers right now and especially looking forward to next year and how they’re trying to make plans and how they’re going to make this work out.”
Cotton normally brings between 70 and 80 cents per bale but right now, it’s between 50 and 60 cents. If the price goes up cotton producers will have something to look forward to because the 2015 growing season is set up nicely.
“I think with all the moisture we’ve had including this recent snowfall,” Day said. “I think it’s going to help us lay the groundwork for maybe a better crop next year.”