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National Cotton Council survey puts 2011 cotton acres at 12.5 million

U.S. cotton producers intend to plant 12.5 million acres of cotton this spring or 14 percent more than they did in 2010. The National Cotton Council's annual planting intentions survey, released at the NCC's annual meeting in San Antonio today, reflects growers intentions between mid-December and mid-January. The biggest increase could come in the Far West where upland cotton acreage is expected to be up 27 percent and extra long staple of Pima acreage up by 23 percent.

The National Cotton Council released its annual Planting intentions survey results at its annual meeting in San Antonio this morning. Here’s what producers responding to the survey had to say about what they plan for 2011:

 U.S. cotton producers intend to plant 12.5 million acres of cotton this spring, up 14 percent from 2010, according to the National Cotton Council’s 28th Annual Early Season Planting Intentions Survey.

Upland cotton intentions are 12.3 million acres, an increase of nearly 14 percent from 2010, while extra-long staple (ELS) intentions of 251,000 acres represent a 23 percent increase. The survey results were announced today at the NCC’s 2011 Annual Meeting being held Feb. 4-6 in San Antonio.

Assuming an average abandonment rate of 11 percent, total upland and ELS harvested area would be about 11.1 million acres. Applying state-level yield assumptions to projected harvested acres generates a cotton crop of 19.2 million bales, compared with 2010’s total production of 18.3 million bales.

The NCC survey, mailed in mid-December, 2010 to producers across the 17-state Cotton Belt, asked for their intended 2011 cotton acreage as well as for their intended plantings of other crops in 2011. Survey responses were collected through mid-January.

NCC Vice President Gary Adams emphasized that, “the cotton market is currently calling for more acres. However, competing crop prices are also strong. Final acreage decisions will be sensitive to how relative prices move between now and planting time. This, along with a number of other issues, including weather, could cause actual plantings to differ from growers’ stated intentions.”

Survey respondents through the Southeast indicated expansion in acreage in all states. In percentage terms, Virginia and North Carolina lead the way with increases of 26.9 percent and 26.1 percent, respectively. In both states, increased cotton acreages are coming at the expense of corn and soybeans. Growers in Florida report a planned increase of 18.3 percent, while increases in Alabama and South Carolina are 14 percent and 11.2 percent, respectively. In Alabama and Florida, cotton is the beneficiary of acres moving out of peanuts, while the South Carolina increase coincides with planned acreage reductions in corn and soybeans. Georgia, that region’s largest cotton, reports the smallest percentage increase at 6.0 percent, primarily due to a shift of acres from peanuts.

While all Mid-South states indicate more cotton acres, the magnitudes vary from an increase of 8.0 percent in Arkansas to a 39.5 percent increase in Tennessee. Mississippi indicates an increase of 24.8 percent, while Missouri and Louisiana are up by 12.4 percent and 8.9 percent, respectively. In each of the five states, the survey suggests cotton will be pulling acres away from soybeans, while growers in Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee also plan to reduce corn acreage.

Growers in the Southwest are planning to bring 700,000 additional acres into cotton production, bringing the regional total to 6.59 million acres (+11.9 percent). In percentage terms, Kansas leads the region with an increase of 34.6 percent as the survey shows wheat and soybean acres being planted to cotton in 2011. Oklahoma acreage is showing a 14.4 percent rebound, again largely at the expense of wheat. For Texas, survey respondents intend to expand area by 11.5 percent.

Southwest producer delegates at the annual meeting said available land may be a determining factor in how much cotton they plant.

Danny Davis, Elk City, Oklahoma, said he’s planting about as much cotton as he can. “We’re maxed out with cotton land,” Davis said.

“We will see a modest increase in acreage in the area,” he added. “Equipment availability will limit expansion. Folks have been out of cotton for a long time and it’s hard to get back in.”

Webb Wallace, a consultant in Harlingen, Texas, in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, predicts acreage will increase significantly, from 91,000 in 2010 to 140,000 to 150,000 in 2011. “We will be up significantly,” Wallace said, “but that increase puts us back to our typical acreage.”

Karin Kuykendall, Executive Vice President, Rolling Plains Cotton Growers, said farmers will plant significantly more acres this year. “We will have a few new cotton producers,” she said.

In the High Plains, Ricky Bearden, Plains, Texas, farms 9500 acres. “I planted 9300 in cotton last year. I also plant peanuts so I’ll stay with that.”

Shawn Holladay, who farms near Lamesa, about an hour south of Lubbock, says he’s planted about as much acreage in cotton as he can. “We’ll plant just about anything that’s not paved,” he quipped.

Eddie Smith, Floydada, Texas, producer and immediate past Chairman of the National Cotton Council, says the High Plains will increase acreage. “But a lot are already planting the maximum amount of cotton they can grow,” he said.

The West region sees a 27.0 percent increase in upland plantings with all those states showing increases. In Arizona, intended area of 226,000 acres represents a 15.8 percent increase from the previous year. The expected increase in acreage is coming in response to better price signals and less competition from feed crops and specialty crops. At the time of the survey, California farmers intend to plant 172,000 acres (+38.8 percent) with the increase coming at the expense of specialty crops. California’s actual plantings ultimately could be dictated by water costs and availability. New Mexico is reporting intentions of 67,000 acres, up 42.5 percent from 2010.

In response to strong market signals, the survey indicates U.S. cotton growers intend to increase ELS plantings 23.1 percent to 251,000 acres in 2011. Each of the four ELS-producing states indicated more acres with California planting 225,000 acres, or 23.6 percent more than last year. In Arizona, a 47.2 percent increase brings area up to 3,700 acres. In New Mexico, growers intend to plant 3,500 acres (+28.2 percent), while Texas acres are estimated at 19,300 (+13.7 percent).



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