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Cotton Acres Expected to be Way Up Over 2013

12 March 2014

US - From all indications, 2014 Texas cotton plantings will be a double-digit percentage increase over those in 2013, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agronomist.

The expectations are for plantings to be 6.5 million acres or more, well above the 5.8 million acres planted in 2013, said Dr Gaylon Morgan, AgriLife Extension statewide cotton specialist, College Station.

Dr. Gaylon Morgan is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension service statewide cotton specialist, College Station. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

Morgan said he believes plantings are still going to follow the trend that was predicted two months ago by the National Cotton Council’s preplant survey.

“Cotton acres will be up in Texas, and as far as that goes, I think as well as most of the Southwest, including Oklahoma and Kansas,”Morgan said. “Part of that is due to corn prices still not rebounding. And cotton prices have inched up, even in the last couple of months.”

Cotton planting started in the Rio Grande Valley about two weeks ago, then was halted by rain and cold weather, he said. Recent rains delayed planting again, but improved the prospects of a successful crop.

“The Upper Gulf Coast has planted cotton in mid-March in some recent years, but their soil temps are cooler this year,” Morgan said. “Additionally, cotton planting will follow the corn and sorghum planting that has been delayed by recent rain events.”

In Central Texas, producers also delayed their corn planting due to the cold weather last week and recent rains, and this may push cotton planting a couple of weeks past a typical start planting date of the first of April, he said.

“A delay in cotton planting will likely help in stand establishment and early season growth due to warmer soil temperatures at planting,” Morgan said.

For successful stand establishment, the top 4 inches of soil should be a minimum of 65 degrees, and there needs to be a favorable weather forecast with low and high air temperatures greater than 50 and 75 degrees, respectively, he said.

For the Texas High Plains, there will typically be a “hodgepodge” of planting dates starting about mid-May and continuing through mid-June, he said. In those regions, which include the Panhandle, South Plains and Rolling Plains, low soil temperature is usually not a problem — soil moisture will be the primary limiting factor. Large parts of all the regions are still in severe to extreme drought.

“But it definitely looks better for most of Texas than it has in a couple of years,” Morgan said. “We’ll know more in a month, because the Blacklands and upper Gulf Coast should be in the middle of or wrapping up planting by then.”

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