Cotton Acres Will Grow in 2018

Producers will plant more cotton acres in response to market demand. ( Chris Bennett )

The National Cotton Council (NCC) found growers intend to plant 13.1 million acres to cotton in 2018—up 3.7% over 2017, according to a recent planting intentions survey.

Upland cotton will likely see the bigger jump by 3.8% over last season to 12.8 million acres. Extra-long staple will grow, too, up to 254,000 acres for a 1% increase. While this could mean a larger cotton crop, there is still a long season with weather and other obstacles ahead.

“Planted acreage is just one of the factors that will determine supplies of cotton and cottonseed,” says Jody Campiche, NCC vice president. Assuming abandonment at 15% for the U.S. the Cotton Belt harvest area will total 11.1 million acre, she adds.

If her estimates are correct, cotton could produce 19.4 million bales—18.7 million upland and 744,000 extra-long staple bales. These estimates are based on an average yield at 842 pounds per acre and Campiche’s estimated harvested acres.

Each state and region response varied with planting intentions:

  • Southeast- 2.3% increase in upland cotton to 2.6 million acres
    • Alabama- 0.8% more cotton by taking acres out of wheat, soybeans and “other crops”
    • Florida- greater cotton acres and fewer soybeans and “other crops”
    • Georgia- 0.6% increase in cotton acres and less corn and “other crops” (peanuts likely)
    • North Carolina- 8.2% increase in cotton with fewer soybeans
    • South Carolina- 3.4% more cotton with less corn
    • Virginia- expect 3.1% greater cotton acres by taking from wheat and “other crops”
  • Mid-South-0.1% decrease to 1.9 million acres
    • Mississippi- 5.5% less cotton in 2018
    • Tennessee- 1.5% increase in cotton acres by stealing from corn and wheat
    • Missouri- increasing cotton acres by 3.8% with less corn and soybeans
    • Louisiana- planting 2.6% less cotton
  • Southwest-5.7% increase to 8 million acres
    • Kansas- 55.3% more cotton, coming out of corn and soybeans
    • Oklahoma- 21% increase in cotton with decreased wheat acres
    • Texas- 3.7% more cotton and less corn and “other crops”
  • Far West-6.8% decrease to 293,000 upland cotton acres
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