More Cotton, Less Grain Likely in Texas in 2017
By Adam Russell, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
Cotton acres in Texas will likely increase as producers seek an alternative to grains this season, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.
Dr. Mark Welch, AgriLife Extension grains marketing economist, College Station, said 4.5 million acres of planted wheat this crop season compared to the 6 million acres planted normally will mean Texas farmers will look for alternatives to plant.
Nationally, Midwest corn acres will likely drop as farmers shift to soybeans due to favorable prices.
Texas farmers will also likely shift from corn to alternatives, most likely cotton, due to better market conditions and lower production costs, Welch said.
“Cotton performed really well in Texas last year,” he said. “Conditions were perfect for most producers and with good yields and prices holding, it makes cotton a viable alternative to grains.”
Water availability could also be a consideration for corn producers who might view cotton as the “biggest bang per gallon” when it comes to irrigation, he said.
Welch said there is also still concern about sugarcane aphids among many sorghum producers. The costs associated with managing the pest on those acres and sagging prices will likely deter some from planting sorghum.
“I think we’ll see fewer grain acres planted and see those acres go to cotton,” he said.