California Cotton, Merced County, Sept 2016

Cotton Acreage Continues to Decline

By Tim Hammerich, with the Ag Information Network

Good news and bad news on the cotton crop this year. The good news is that yields per acre are expected to be a record high, but the cotton acres and total production are down sharply, noted  USDA Deputy Chief Economist Cindy Nickerson.

“We have production forecast at 17 million 480 pound bales, which is down just a 10th of a percent from last month, but down a little greater from 2019: 14.4%. And this is due to significantly fewer acres, both planted and harvested, with the harvested acres projected down 23%,” said Nickerson.

But, Nickerson says, there’s good news: record high yields.

“Yields are still expected to average a record high at 909 pounds per harvested acre, just down slightly from the expected yield last month. And we know that all cotton harvested areas forecast at 9 million acres, no change from last month, but down 22.5% year over year,” she said.

California, which at one time had planted over 1 million acres of cotton, continues to see a decline in cotton acreage down 28% from the previous year to just over 187,000 acres. Poor prices and limited water availability are largely to blame.