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Beltwide cotton prospects excellent to awful

Cotton crop conditions across the U.S. Cotton Belt range from a complete disaster to some of the best prospects observers have ever seen in late summer, according to spokesmen at the American Cotton Producers/Cotton Foundation joint meeting yesterday in Nashville.

State reports showed a mixed bag of crop conditions with South Texas in the most dire situation and Kansas looking pretty good. State reports include:

Alabama acreage is estimated at 248,000, down 2,000 acres from June. Reports indicated most of the state has good moisture with fairly good crop prospects.

Arizona acreage estimates range from 140,000 to 145,000 acres, according to conference participants. USDA puts the crop at 139,000. The crop looked good in July, according to Arizona cotton observers. They also expect acreage to increase, possibly to 180,000, in 2010.

Arkansas had 520,000 acres estimated in June, down 20 percent from 2007 and down to 515,000 in the USDA August report. The crop suffered early under wet conditions and received 3 inches of rain earlier this week. The crop still looks good, Arkansas representatives said.

California acreage is estimated at 190,000 with 117,000 of that in Pima. Observers said the crop was off to a good start with little insect pressure.

Kansas has close to 40,000 acres, according to state observers. USDA pegs the crop at just 32,000. Robert Miller said the crop looks “the best I’ve ever seen this time of year.”

Louisiana acreage is estimated at 235,000 and a 420,000 bale production, twice what Louisiana farmers made last year following hurricane damage. Observers said the crop looks good with opportunities to increase acreage next year in light of a lot of 50-bushel corn yields.

Mississippi’s estimated acreage of 266,000 is down from 270,000 in June with a pretty good crop prospect. Missouri acreage is estimated at 285,000 by USDA with the state Boll Weevil Eradication Program reporting 276,000. The crop started in a wet planting season with some seeding as late as June 2. Dry conditions followed and then another deluge. The crop has had some pressure from aphids and plant bugs and needs warm sunny weather to mature.

New Mexico upland cotton acreage is down to 28,000, according to USDA, with about 1,400 acres of Pima. Cotton farmers have seen some rust.

North Carolina farmers have about 375,000 acres with crop conditions varied across the state. Oklahoma has a 170,000 acre crop, based on USDA estimates, an increase of some 40,000 acres over 2008. Thrips posed some early problems but growers handled the outbreaks, observers said. The crop needs a mild fall to mature.

South Carolina cotton acreage is estimated at 135,000 and needs one more good rain to make an average crop.

Virginia acreage ranges from 64,000 to 65,000 acres and received a lot of rain early but looks good in August.

The outlook for the 3.7 million-acre Texas crop depends on location. Jimmy Dodson farms near Corpus Christi and says prospects south of Interstate 10 are dismal. “We’re experiencing the worst drought in the last 85 years. It could be the worst on record.” He said some gins will not open and others will run limited hours. The gin he uses will process only 2500 bales.

Conditions in the rest of Texas are mixed. Observers expect some High Plains dryland acreage to make decent yields and others to make little or nothing. Most irrigated cotton has done well. Conditions in the Southern Rolling Plains range from as good as some have ever seen to “plowed out.” In the Rolling Plains July was the wettest month of the year.

Georgia’s 970,000 acre crop rates 82 percent fair to good but it’s late and needs a “late frost to make a good yield.”

Tennessee’s 300,000-acre crop also got off to a wet start and is some two weeks behind normal. Tennessee cotton farmers say it’s been the wettest summer they remember. They expect an average crop.


TAGS: Cotton
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