High Plains cotton acreage down from 2011
High Plains producers planted less cotton than they did in 2011, according to the June 29 USDA Planted Acreage Report.
USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service reports that 4.15 million acres of High Plains land were planted to cotton this year, a 9.1 percent decrease from 4.57 million acres planted in 2011.
The bulk of the shift came from the northern portion of PCG's service area, where acreage went from 1.25 million in 2011 to just 960,000 in 2012, a 23 percent decrease. Planted acreage was down just 4 percent in the Southern High Plains.
Darren Hudson, professor and Larry Combest Agricultural Competitiveness Endowed Chair in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at Texas Tech, said the decrease likely can be attributed to price and multiple crop options, particularly in the north. As cotton prices dropped relative to corn, he said, growers may have opted into planting more corn, or another crop.
Although overall progress of this year's High Plains cotton crop is better than 2011, growers still face challenges. Rains earlier in the month helped firmly establish crops on irrigated and most dryland acreage, but with that moisture came hail and high winds that forced some farmers to replant. Additional rain still is needed across the entire area in order to sustain the crop.
Temperatures have exceeded the 100-degree mark over most of the High Plains recently, and although forecasts predict a slight drop in temperature over the next several days, chances of rain at this point are slim.
Statewide, USDA reports that 6.8 million acres of cotton were planted, a 4.2 percent decrease from 2011 when Texas producers planted 7.1 million acres. Nationwide, planted acreage is estimated at 12.4 million, down 14 percent from 2011.
The June Acreage report is based on producer surveys of actual planted acreage information. It is the market's first glimpse of how many acres have actually been planted to various crops during the current growing season and sets the stage for evaluating where the crop stands at this point. Up until now acreage discussions have been based on survey results designed to get a handle on producer intentions before they had actually put a seed in the ground.