Cotton plantings predicted to be down as much as 25 percent
Texas cotton planting is expected to be down by as much as 25 percent from last year, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service state cotton specialist.
In December, a National Cotton Council survey showed farmers' intended cotton plantings in Texas for 2013 to be 4.9 million acres, down by about 25 percent from actual plantings in 2012 of 6.55 million acres, said Gaylon Morgan, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension state cotton specialist, College Station.
"Since then, prices have gone up a little for cotton and come down a little for grain crops, so my guess is that the National Cotton Council survey hopefully is the worst-case scenario for planted cotton acres," he said.
Also, there has been more rainfall than expected, which will affect cotton-planting intentions, Morgan said.
"We got some rain in early January which helped out those drier areas, and despite the long-term forecasts predicting drier than normal precipitation, we've actually accumulated a decent amount of rainfall in the High Plains and Rolling Plains just this last week or so," he said.
The Coastal Bend and Rio Grande Valley cotton growing areas remain under extreme drought conditions, he noted.
"Additionally, long-term weather predictions are for above-normal temperatures, which can also magnify a limited in-season precipitation."
But the recent rains likely will have an adverse effect on intended cotton planting as it will mean more acres will stay in or go to grain crops, Morgan said.
"A lot of cotton acres went into wheat last fall, and with the rains in the High Plains and Rolling Plains, they'll probably stick with wheat," he said. "Also there's talk of a lot of sorghum going in."
The National Cotton Council survey predicted 9.01 million acres for the U.S., Morgan said. Total upland cotton planting for the U.S. was more than 12 million acres in 2012. In the Southwest, which includes Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico, cotton plantings are expected to be down more than 24 percent in 2013.
Morgan also noted that there was a similar drop--about 23 to 24 percent--in cotton acreage in 2006 going into 2007. Then, as now, relatively high grain prices were a factor in the reduction of cotton acres, he said.