Planted cotton acres in Texas are expected to be flat or up slightly as the growing season nears, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.
Dr. Gaylon Morgan, AgriLife Extension statewide cotton specialist, said Texas cotton specialists around the state expect acreage to remain static in most areas. They agree good soil moisture profiles, wet conditions delaying corn and sorghum plantings, and better pricing incentives could drive an increase.
Morgan said Cotton Grower magazine, a national trade publication for growers, forecast Texas acreage to fall 500,000 acres to 7.2 million, compared to 7.7 million last year.
“There’s a lot of time before the planting window closes for regions that are dealing with saturated soils, so we expect cotton will go in on those acres,” he said. “And there could be even more than expected if producers can’t get corn or sorghum planted. In other regions, the low grain commodity prices and poor performing wheat could also drive an increase.”
In the Rio Grande Valley, Morgan said producers have good soil moisture profiles and were expected to begin planting cotton toward the end of the month. Cotton acres may increase a little, but there are limitations due to crop rotation restrictions.
“They’re pretty much maxed out around 220,000 acres,” he said. “There will be plenty of corn and sorghum going in soon, and those cotton acres will follow soon after depending on soil temperatures.”
In the Coastal Bend, cotton acres are expected to remain steady after four years of increased planting, but could be up due to excessive moisture, Morgan said.
“We will likely see a 5-10% increase in the Upper Gulf Coast region, especially knowing how wet things are now and how many fields have not been worked and prepared for grain planting,” he said.
Morgan expects another double-digit increase in acreage in the Blacklands region following an increase last year.
“Again, you’ve got other commodities prices that are low, inability to plant wheat in the fall and increased ginning capacity that weren’t there a few years ago,” he said. “Cotton could be more attractive to those growers, and conditions are set up very well for the dryland crop. The soil moisture profile is at a point to where the crop should perform fine even if we received just one well-timed rain in the summer.”