Texas may see sharp drop in cotton in 2013

Projected cotton acreage in Texas – the nation’s largest cotton-growing state – could be down by as much as 20 percent in the near future, experts claim.

The enduring drought that has ravaged the Midwest has resulted in increased grain prices, and that could provide the impetus for Texas farmers to move more of their land out of cotton, which has been bringing a mediocre return, according to Southeast Farm Press.

One Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist told the publication he has heard stories about high sorghum prices that could prove tempting to many growers in the coming year.

John Robinson, an AgriLife Extension cotton economist in College Station, said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Texas’ cotton acreage drop down 20 percent, to about 5 million cotton acres next year.

Texas leads the US in cotton production and annually produces about 25 percent of the nation’s entire crop, according to the Texas A&M University cotton growing program.

Another Texas A&M Extension economist, though, believes next year’s cotton acreage is dependent on the Lone Star State’s wheat crop.

“If we get a bunch of rain, this could lead to a lot of opportunity,” said Mark Welch.

Texas plants approximately 6 million wheat acres, according to Southeast Farm Press.

If Texas receives ample rain this fall, there could be an increase in harvested acreage. This comes after the recent run-up in corn prices, which eclipsed $8 a bushel, Welch said.

“We are certainly setting ourselves up for a very large grain crop in 2013,” Welch said.

Robinson said you would have to look back six years to 2006-2007 when the Lone Star State last saw a significant change in cotton acreage. That drop was the result of higher grain prices and increased grain acreage.

Cotton prices are predicted to continue to be between 70 and 80 cents a pound in the near-term, although changes in world supply projections could trigger fluctuations, according to Southeast Farm Press.

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