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U.S. Producers to Plant 3.7 Percent More Cotton in 2018
USAgNet - 02/12/2018

U.S. cotton producers intend to plant 13.1 million cotton acres this spring, up 3.7 percent from 2017, according to the National Cotton Council's 37th Annual Early Season Planting Intentions Survey.

Upland cotton intentions are 12.8 million acres, up 3.8 percent from 2017, while extra-long staple (ELS) intentions of 254,000 acres represent a 1.0 percent increase. The survey results were announced today at the NCC's 2018 Annual Meeting in Fort Worth, Texas.

Dr. Jody Campiche, the NCC's vice president, Economics & Policy Analysis, said, "Planted acreage is just one of the factors that will determine supplies of cotton and cottonseed. Ultimately, weather, insect pressures and agronomic conditions play a significant role in determining crop size."

She said that with abandonment assumed at approximately 15 percent for the United States, Cotton Belt harvested area totals 11.1 million acres. Using an average U.S. yield per harvested acre of 842 pounds generates a cotton crop of 19.4 million bales, with 18.7 million upland bales and 744,000 ELS bales.

The NCC questionnaire, mailed in mid-December 2017 to producers across the 17-state Cotton Belt, asked producers for the number of acres devoted to cotton and other crops in 2017 and the acres planned for the coming season. Survey responses were collected through mid-January.

Campiche noted, "History has shown that U.S. farmers respond to relative prices when making planting decisions.

During the survey period, cotton futures prices were stronger relative to competing crops. The price ratios of cotton to corn and soybeans are more favorable than in 2017. However, soybeans are expected to provide competition for available acres in 2018, due in part to the lower production costs relative to cotton. While cotton prices have improved relative to other crops, cottonseed prices are at the lowest level since the 2006 marketing year, thus increasing the net costs of ginning."

Survey respondents in the Southeast indicate a 2.3 percent increase in the region's upland area to 2.6 million acres. All six states show an increase in acreage. In Alabama, the survey responses indicate 0.8 percent more cotton acreage and less wheat, soybeans, and 'other crops'. In Florida, respondents indicated more cotton and soybeans and less 'other crops', likely peanuts. In Georgia, cotton acreage is expected to increase by 0.6 percent.

Georgia growers expect to plant less soybeans and more corn and 'other crops', likely peanuts. In North Carolina, an 8.2 percent increase is expected as acreage moves away from soybeans. In South Carolina, cotton acreage is expected to increase by 3.4 percent, while corn acreage is expected to decline. Cotton acreage is expected to increase by 3.1 percent in Virginia as acreage moves away from wheat and 'other crops'.

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