Cotton plantings are down by nearly 50 percent as a result of another dry start to the year in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, leading analysts to believe growers will produce one of the area’s smallest crops ever.

“To begin with, our estimations are that growers have planted only 80,000 acres of cotton,” said Danielle Sekula, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service cotton integrated pest management entomologist based at the Research and Extension Center in Weslaco.

That compares with an average of 150,000 acres planted each of the last three years, which have been some of the driest on record, and an average of 220,000 acres of cotton planted between 2004 and 2006, she said.

To read more about the drought situation and the cotton outlook for south Texas, go to