By admin       2018-04-16

U.S. cotton area is projected to increase for the third consecutive season in 2018. Based on the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s (NASS) Prospective Plantings report that surveyed farmers in early March, producers intended to plant nearly 13.5 million acres to cotton in 2018. The initial projection is 7 percent (857,000 acres) above 2017’s plantings and the highest since 2011’s 14.7 million acres. Upland acreage is forecast at 13.2 million acres in 2018, while extra-long staple (ELS) area is estimated at 262,000 acres; for area projections by State and region, see table 10. These estimates will be updated at the end of June in NASS’s Acreage report. Cotton planting is underway in two States, according to the NASS Crop Progress report; as of April 9, 7 percent of the expected U.S. acreage had been planted, which was slightly above last year and the 2013–17 average. U.S. cotton area is expected to rise this spring as a result of relative prices that favor cotton over competing crops. High yields recorded in 2017, the growth in global cotton demand, and dry conditions in the Southwest also likely played a role in the higher 2018 acreage indications. Two of the four Cotton Belt regions are forecast to plant notably more cotton in 2018, while two are forecast to plant a similar amount as the year before. The Southwest is expected to plant 8.1 million acres to upland cotton in 2018, more than 500,000 acres (7 percent) above 2017. Reduced corn, soybean, and peanut area is projected to boost upland cotton in the region to its highest since 1980, when nearly 8.6 million acres were planted. The Southwest is forecast to account for 61 percent of total U.S. upland cotton acreage in 2018, similar to the previous two seasons. As a result, production prospects in the region will continue to play a key role in the 2018 U.S. cotton crop. In the Southeast, 2018 cotton plantings are projected to rise more than 300,000 acres (13 percent) from a year ago to 2.8 million acres; lower peanut area and the smallest soybean area for the region in 5 years are expected to push cotton acreage there to its highest since 2011. Cotton area in the Southeast is forecast to account for about 22 percent of the U.S. upland total. In contrast, the Delta cotton acreage for 2018 is projected very similar to that of 2017, at 1.9 million acres; in fact, indications are for corn and soybean acreages for the region to be similar to 2017 as well. The Delta is expected to account for 15 percent of the total cotton area in 2018, slightly below the year before. Likewise, the West is expected to plant area to upland cotton and corn in 2018 that is similar to 2017. In 2018, upland cotton acreage is estimated at 317,000 acres, or 2 percent of the U.S. upland cotton total. Meanwhile, ELS area in the West is forecast to reach 250,000 acres, 5 percent above 2017; the region will account for 95 percent of total ELS cotton area in 2018.

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