facebook_pixel

MAKE OR BREAK: Silver Linings for U.S. Cotton Acres

From Cotton Grower Magazine – April 2015

In his boldest and proudest voice, O.A. Cleveland proclaimed, “I like cotton!” to a room of growers and consultants who, admittedly, were having a tough time seeing past low market prices and falling acreage for the coming season.

Cleveland, professor emeritus of agricultural economics at Mississippi State University, has often been accused of being a blue sky economist – the one who always finds the silver lining in the gray clouds while holding a glass that’s always half full. And, at a time when most of the news surrounding the cotton industry can be depressing and disheartening, a glimpse at the positives may be just the incentive needed to take some of the edge off of the season and get a few more seeds in the ground.

Speaking during the Cotton Grower Common Thread Luncheon, held during the 2015 Mid-South Farm and Gin Show in Memphis, Cleveland reviewed several reasons why growers should be planting cotton this year.

Two of the primary reasons start with the advantages that today’s cotton varieties offer to growers and to the world market.

“The seed companies have come forth with some outstanding varieties that will give you a yield,” stated Cleveland. “It’s not uncommon, especially on good cotton ground, to expect at least three bales per acre. And most growers are planning on a little bit more than that. We’re seeing a little more four bale per acre cotton in the Mississippi River Delta states than we’ve ever seen. That’s a lot of cotton off of one acre.

“I can’t help but believe that if you were at three bales per acre, you’d have to think hard and long not to continue to grow cotton,” he added. “But not only are the seed companies giving growers yield, they’re also providing quality.”

Cleveland pointed out that the “perfect cow” in the cotton business for years and years has been Strict Low Middling 1 1/16. “That’s trash today,” he stated.

“You can sell it all day long at the loan price. Lower quality yarns will take it. But if you want to get cotton into a yarn that the consumer wants, you need a minimum of 36 staple.”

Last year, some cotton grown in Oklahoma measured a 40 staple – enough, pointed out Cleveland, to catch the market’s interest. Because of its strong staple length, that crop was marketed by the Pima and Acala organizations rather than through the standard Upland channels. And it came from Upland varieties that growers know and recognize.

“Quality is making a huge difference, more so than it ever has before,” said Cleveland. “Three places in the world have quality cotton – the United States, Australia and Brazil. The market is paying for yield and quality, and it has to come from these countries.”

This could be a big plus for U.S. growers. Cleveland noted that Australia’s crop for this year will be down 50 percent due to water issues. Their growers are already selling their 2016 crop for $550 per bale, as well as their 2017 crop for nearly $535 per bale.

“By the time we see all of the significant acreage reductions for cotton around the world this year – including in our three quality locations – the amount of quality cotton available is going to decline,” he stated. “Mills and buyers are scrambling, because they know the amount of quality cotton needed is not available, and they’re trying to get it. There’s not but about 20 million bales of high quality cotton left in the world market. And that’s not enough.

“For growers who have some quality cotton left in this past crop, there may be another nickel yet in the market.”

As usual, price remains a factor. The market has been disappointing for much of the past year, but it’s been in worse shape. Cleveland believes the drive for quality will pay off sooner rather than later.

“I look for 73 to 75 cents in December,” he predicted. “The bottom, in my opinion, is in. We could run back down a bit, but I think we’re past all of the things that usually run price back down for a while.”

Cleveland also noted a few other reasons for growers to keep cotton in their fields. The U.S. has the infrastructure and equipment in place for efficient cotton production, more so than other cotton-producing countries. Most of that equipment, he said, is paid for and needs to be used.

And the other reason?

“The best reason to grow cotton is as a contrarian,” he said.

“We’re increasing oilseed acres around the globe, not just in the U.S. And we’re cutting cotton acres as drastically as I’ve ever seen over a one or two year period. So consequently, the contrarian view is to plant cotton, baby!

“And just wait until 2016,” he hinted. “Be sure to keep your equipment, because you’re really going to wish you had it then.”

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Common Thread Stories
Common Thread

Working to Overcome an Uneasy Alliance

May 11, 2016

As the public becomes more aware of pollinator health, beekeepers and cotton producers come under more scrutiny.

Common Thread

Turning Up the Buzz

July 14, 2015

A White House plan offers more protection for pollinators and monarchs, without major impact for U.S. agriculture.

Common Thread

Dealing With Drought: Reducing Drought’s Impact

June 5, 2015

Some promising water management studies could help maximize yields and protect cotton acres.

Common Thread

Dealing With Drought: A Tale of Two States

June 3, 2015

Despite recent rainfall in Texas, drought continues to take its toll on U.S. cotton production.

Common Thread

CCI Continues to Successfully Build Global Demand for U.S. Cotton

May 18, 2015

After nearly 60 years, Cotton Council International keeps on building demand for U.S. cotton around the world.

Common Thread

MAKE OR BREAK: Silver Linings for U.S. Cotton Acres

April 3, 2015

According to O.A. Cleveland, high yields and demand for quality top the reasons to grow cotton in 2015.

Common Thread

MAKE OR BREAK: Living Under the “Volcano” of China’s Cotton Policies

April 1, 2015

Joe Nicosia says that China’s plan to reduce massive cotton stocks could challenge the cotton market for years to come.

Around The Gin
Product News

Bayer Looking for FiberMax One Ton Club Growers for 2017

November 16, 2017

Cotton growers who produce an average of 2,000 lb/A on 20 or more acres planted to FiberMax varieties in 2017 are eligible to be part of the 13th annual FiberMax One Ton Club.

Product News

Monsanto Delays NemaStrike for Additional Review

November 2, 2017

After finding cases of skin irritation, Monsanto is pulling its nematode seed treatment NemaStrike for further product review.

Product News

Intrepid Trio: Naturally Balanced Nutrition in Every Granule

November 1, 2017

Intrepid Trio contains three essential nutrients for cotton plants.

Product News

Save Time, Increase Efficiencies with Mixmate

November 1, 2017

Mixmate from Praxidyn is a precision chemical mixing system for small farms to large enterprises.

Product News

Crumpler Ironworks & Fabrication

November 1, 2017

Crumpler Ironworks & Fabrication is committed to providing the highest level of service, honesty and integrity, regardless of project size.

Product News

Delivering Proven Performance Across the Cotton Belt

November 1, 2017

Seed varieties, traits and crop protection products from Bayer deliver proven performance to growers across the Cotton Belt.

Product News

Growers Continue to Count on Americot and NexGen

November 1, 2017

Americot is dedicated to working with cotton growers throughout the Cotton Belt to provide elite performing NexGen varieties within the marketplace.

Product News

Deere Adds New Narrow Track Versions to 9RX Tractor Lineup

November 1, 2017

John Deere has added three new 9RX Narrow Track Tractors, expanding its lineup of high-horsepower machines.

Latest News
Common Thread

Working to Overcome an Uneasy Alliance

May 11, 2016

As the public becomes more aware of pollinator health, beekeepers and cotton producers come under more scrutiny.

Common Thread

Examining Cotton’s Points of Interest

April 4, 2016

Experts tackle key issues impacting cotton during Cotton Grower's Common Thread Luncheon.

Common Thread

Look for Savings in the Right Places

March 1, 2016

In a tight market, cotton growers should look for smart savings and efficiencies during the growing season.

Common Thread

Turning Up the Buzz

July 14, 2015

A White House plan offers more protection for pollinators and monarchs, without major impact for U.S. agriculture.

Common Thread

Dealing With Drought: Reducing Drought’s Impact

June 5, 2015

Some promising water management studies could help maximize yields and protect cotton acres.

Common Thread

Dealing With Drought: A Tale of Two States

June 3, 2015

Despite recent rainfall in Texas, drought continues to take its toll on U.S. cotton production.

Common Thread

CCI Continues to Successfully Build Global Demand for U.S. Cotton

May 18, 2015

After nearly 60 years, Cotton Council International keeps on building demand for U.S. cotton around the world.

Common Thread

MAKE OR BREAK: Silver Linings for U.S. Cotton Acres

April 3, 2015

According to O.A. Cleveland, high yields and demand for quality top the reasons to grow cotton in 2015.

Common Thread

MAKE OR BREAK: Living Under the “Volcano” of China’s Cotton Policies

April 1, 2015

Joe Nicosia says that China’s plan to reduce massive cotton stocks could challenge the cotton market for years to come.

Common Thread

The Buzz Continues Over Pollinator Health

March 24, 2015

With a federal plan for honey bee protection in the works, the U.S. cotton industry points to successes and braces for more challenges.

Common Thread

Defensive Specialist Helps Blunt Impact of Cotton Leaf Curl Virus

March 9, 2015

Dr. Jodi Scheffler’s work is helping solve problems and improve cotton production around the world.

Common Thread

Changing the WTO Narrative

March 2, 2015

American cotton has been a favorite target of the WTO for long enough.

Common Thread

Unraveling the Common Thread

January 22, 2015

Cotton Grower is launching an initiative to showcase a broader view of the cotton industry.