Farmers are going to plant 9.1 million acres of cotton this spring -- a 6 percent increase from last year -- according to the National Cotton Council’s (NCC) 35th Annual Early Season Planting Intentions Survey announced Feb. 5 at the council's annual meeting.
The survey found that Upland cotton growers intend to plant 8.9 million acres, 5.7 percent more than last year, Extra-long staple is expected to be planted on 31.2 percent more acreage than last year for a total of 208,000 acres.
"Planted acreage is just one of the factors that will determine supplies of cotton and cottonseed,” Dr. Jody Campiche, the NCC’s vice president of Economics & Policy Analysis, said. "Ultimately, weather, insect pressures and agronomic conditions play a significant role in determining crop size."
The survey is important because it helps determine the number of seeds and supplies needed for the upcoming growing season.
"History has shown that U.S. farmers respond to relative prices when making planting decisions," Campiche said. "During the survey period, the cotton December futures contract averaged just under 65 cents per pound, which is very similar to year-ago levels. However, corn and soybean prices are 8-12 percent below year ago levels, so price ratios of cotton to competing crops are a bit more favorable than in 2015."
In the Southeast, survey participants said there was a 5.1 percent decline in cotton acreage last year for a regional total of 2.1 million acres. In the Mid-South, cotton growers indicated on the survey they plan to plant 1.2 million acres, 24.9 percent higher than the acreage in 2015.
Southwest growers are also hoping to increase their acreage from last year by slightly over 6 percent for a region total of 5.3 million acres dedicated to cotton. In the Far West, there are expected to be 213,000 upland cotton acres but that reflects mixed results as California and New Mexico acreage is expected to decline while Arizona intends to raise its cotton-devoted acreage by 34.8 percent.