NCC Survey Suggests US Producers to Plant 9.01 Million Acres of Upland/ELS Cotton in '13

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February 8, 2013
Contact: T. Cotton Nelson or Marjory Walker
(901) 274-9030

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – U.S. cotton producers intend to plant 9.01 million acres of cotton this spring, down 26.8 percent from 2012, according to the National Cotton Council's 30th Annual Early Season Planting Intentions Survey. (see table attached)

Upland cotton intentions are 8.81 million acres, down 27.0 percent from 2012, while extra-long staple (ELS) intentions of 203,000 acres represent a 15.0 percent decline. The survey results were announced today at the NCC's 2013 Annual Meeting being held February 8-10 in Memphis.

Assuming slightly above-average abandonment in the Southwest region due to the dry conditions and all other states set at historical averages, total upland and ELS harvested area would be 7.65 million acres, which is 15.2 percent below planted area. Applying state-level yield assumptions to projected harvested acres generates a cotton crop of 12.86 million bales, compared with 2012's total production of 17.01 million bales.

NCC Vice President Gary Adams said that, "Planted acreage is just one variable determining final production. Weather is often a more significant determinant, particularly weather developments in the southwestern U.S. With this in mind, we could see the U.S. crop ranging from a low of 9.5 million bales to a high of 17.0 million bales. "

The NCC survey, mailed in mid-December 2012 to producers across the 17-state Cotton Belt, asked producers for the number of acres devoted to cotton and other crops in 2012 and the acres planned for the coming season. Survey responses were collected through mid-January.

Adams noted, "Projections by market watchers have been calling for reduced acreage in 2013, and the NCC survey agrees with those expectations. Cotton farmers are responding to market signals. Relative prices of cotton and competing crops have been the primary factor influencing U.S. acreage."

Survey respondents throughout the Southeast indicated a decline of 18.5 percent, lowering the regional total to 2.24 million acres. Respondents indicating a decline in cotton acreage are shifting to corn and soybeans, with soybeans more heavily favored as the alternative. Those planting more acres of cotton indicated fewer acres in the "Other Crops" category, which are peanuts in this region.

In the Mid-South, survey results show that growers intend to plant 1.00 million acres, which is half of last year's total. The decline in cotton acres is consistent with relative returns for cotton and competing crops based on current futures markets.

Adams stated, "Based on USDA costs of production and trend yields, the shortfall between cotton net returns and returns for corn and soybeans is substantially larger than in 2009 – the most recent low in acreage."

Survey responses said that corn accounts for slightly more than half of the planned decline. Soybeans account for the remainder of the decline in acres, with many of the soybeans being double-cropped with wheat.

Southwest growers are indicating total upland acres of 5.23 million, down 24.4 percent from last year. The respondents planting less cotton said they intend to move those acres into grain sorghum, wheat and corn, in that order. The survey indicated that some producers are planning to increase cotton, with some of those acres coming from grains but the larger reason underlying the increase appears to be weather. Growers unable to plant last year due to drought conditions are expecting to sow more acres in 2013.

In the West, a 12.2 percent reduction is expected with the regional total at 341,000 acres, and the vast majority of those acres moving into specialty crops. For ELS cotton, U.S. acreage is pegged at 203,000 acres, down 15 percent. As is the case of upland cotton, ELS prices down from year-earlier levels are inducing a shift to other crops. (see table below)

Adams reminded NCC delegates that the expectations are a snapshot of intentions based on market conditions at the time of the survey. Actual plantings will be influenced by changing market conditions and weather.


# # #

Prospective 2013 U.S. Cotton Area

 

 

 2012 Actual

 (Thou.) 1/

 2013 Intended

 (Thou.) 2/

Percent

Change

SOUTHEAST

2,748 

2,241 

-18.5% 

   Alabama

380 

320 

-15.7% 

   Florida

108 

103 

-4.5% 

   Georgia

1,290 

1,093 

-15.3% 

   N. Carolina

585 

398 

-32.0% 

   S. Carolina

299 

265 

-11.4% 

   Virginia

86 

62 

-28.3% 

MID-SOUTH

2,030 

1,003 

-50.6% 

   Arkansas

595 

221 

-62.9% 

   Louisiana

230 

144 

-37.3% 

   Mississippi

475 

199 

-58.1% 

   Missouri

350 

239 

-31.6% 

   Tennessee

380 

199 

-47.6% 

SOUTHWEST

6,911 

5,228 

-24.4% 

   Kansas

56 

50 

-10.4% 

   Oklahoma

305 

267 

-12.3% 

   Texas

6,550 

4,910 

-25.0% 

WEST

388 

341 

-12.2% 

   Arizona

200 

193 

-3.6% 

   California

142 

112 

-21.4% 

   New Mexico

46 

36 

-21.0% 

TOTAL UPLAND

12,077 

8,812 

-27.0% 

TOTAL ELS

238 

203 

-15.0% 

   Arizona

-16.0% 

   California

225 

190 

-15.6% 

   New Mexico

-26.0% 

   Texas

3.9% 

ALL COTTON

12,315 

9,015 

-26.8% 

1/ USDA-NASS

2/ National Cotton Council