Two years after cotton prices hit lofty levels, growers are facing considerably bleaker prospects, according to market analysts.
Spiking grain and soybean prices has resulted in projections for plunging cotton acreage in 2013, according to analysts speaking at the Ag Market Network’s recent conference call.
“I can’t think of anybody right now who would plant cotton unless they owned a gin,” said Mike Stevens a market analyst based in Louisiana. “As far as the price structure is concerned, cotton is not even competitive.”
In the Southeast and Mid-South, “anything less than a dollar a pound for cotton is not going to draw much interest,” Mississippi State professor emeritus O.A. Cleveland told Southeast Farm Press. “With soybeans at $17 and corn at $8, you’re going to see wholesale switching to soybeans and corn.”
Cotton futures are currently in the low- to mid-70-cent-per-pound range, according to information found on the National Cotton Council of America’s website. A year ago it was selling for 90 cents a pound and the price topped $2 in 2010.
Jarral Neeper, president of Bakersfield, Calif.-based Calcot said, “70-cent cotton just won’t work. Land rents are rising now due to alternative crops. Fertilizer prices have not come down much at all. There are just too many alternatives in California for producers to not look at other things.”