A tough cotton growing season in 2011 and stiff competition for acres with other crops may be some of the reasons cotton growers in the Southeast are lowering their planting intentions for 2012. The Southeast, including North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, among other states, plan to cut their cotton acres 12.8% in 2012, from 3.4 million acres in 2011 to less than 3 million acres in 2012, according to survey results recently released from the National Cotton Council.
Alabama growers will cut cotton acres by 17.6%, from 460,000 acres to 379,000 cotton acres. That is the largest cut of any state in the Southeast. Virginia growers will slash acres most among states in the Carolina-Virginia region, with intentions to plant 16% fewer cotton acres in 2012. In 2011 the Commonwealth's cotton producers turned out 116,000 acres of cotton: they will produce only 97,000 acres in 2012.
North Carolina will produce 714,000 acres of cotton in 2012, down11.3% from the 805,000 acres of cotton that Tarheel growers produced in 2011.
South Carolina growers will cut cotton acres by 10%, from 303,000 acres in 2011 to 273,000 acres in 2012.
Growers in the Carolinas and Virginia faced tough growing conditions in terms of weather in 2011. Although the weather early on put growers on the track to record production, winds from Hurricane Irene severely tangled cotton and made harvest difficult. After Hurricane Irene, growers also had an extended period of overcast days, which retarded final growth.
Fortunately prices were good in the industry. That was a saving grace. However, in 2012 the record prices for cotton have settled back down some, leaving more opportunity for growers to consider other crops. Many feel peanuts will offer them a better price in 2012.
Total upland cotton in the U.S. will also be down in 2012, with growers across the Cotton Belt declaring their intentions to plant 7.5% less upland cotton. In 2011 growers nationwide produced 14.4 million acres of cotton. That will be down to about 13.3 million acres in 2012. All cotton, including pima, will be produced on 13.6 million acres in 2012, down from 14.7 million acres in 2011. That is down about 7.5%
Learn more about cotton production at the National Cotton Council website at www.cotton.org.