California and Arizona are poised for respectable increases in cotton acreage in 2017, putting the U.S. on track for a total of 11 million acres of the fiber crop.
Drought conditions and cotton prices seem to have improved, giving growers at least in California the confidence to boost plantings.
Preliminary estimates from California and Arizona suggest acreage increases in the neighborhood of 25-30 percent for Arizona and upwards of 20 percent in California.
Roger Isom, president of the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association, says preliminary planting estimates of 256,000 total acres are being bolstered by surface water allocations much higher than last year, though growers were not told how much surface water to expect until late March, a full month later than previous years and beyond the date they typically make planting decisions.
California cotton plantings for 2017 could include 186,000 acres of Pima and 70,000 acres of Upland varieties, Isom says. Reports from the various seed companies suggest some cotton seed is sold out or in short supply in California. If this holds, this will be a 22 percent increase for Pima acreage and 6 percent boost in Upland acreage.
Arizona last year reported over 129,000 total acres of cotton, according to Leighton Liesner, director, Arizona Cotton Research and Protection Council. California produced nearly 219,000 total acres of cotton in the same period.
If projections hold, Leisner says total cotton acreage in Arizona could climb to between 160,000-170,000 acres. He expects that extra-long staple Pima varieties could account for a little over 13,000 acres of that – unchanged from last year.