The 36th Annual Early Season Planting Intention Survey revealed that upland cotton intentions are up 8.8 per cent from 2016, while extra-long staple (ELS) intentions are represent at 36.9 percent. Thus, cotton growers in the US intend to plant their crop on 11 million acres this spring to cater for an additional 9,5 percent increase.
A questionnaire was mailed in mid-December 2016 to producers across the 17-state Cotton Belt, and they were asked for the number of acres devoted to cotton and other crops in 2016 and the acres planned for the coming season. Survey responses were collected through mid-January.
Many factors might still influence these estimates, such as planted acreage, weather, insect pressures and agronomic conditions, yet the National Cotton Council (NCC)—the organisation that carried out the survey, is confident in their predictions. Abandonment was assumed at 12 percent and the Cotton Belt harvested area totals 9.7 million acres. Using an average US yield per harvested acre of 830 pounds generating a cotton crop of 16.8 million bales, with 16.0 million upland bales and 760,000 ELS bales, the NCC’s 2017 annual prediction might just be spot on.
The increase in cotton acreage is largely the result of weaker prices of competing crops, improved expectations for water availability in the West, and above average cotton yields in 2016. While current futures markets have increased since last year, many producers will continue to face difficult economic conditions in 2017. Production costs remain high, and unless producers have good yields, the higher price still may not be enough to cover all production expenses.