“The forecast of 1.3 million additional acres of Upland cotton for 2010 could begin to release the vise-grip pressure on the cottonseed supply available to dairy producers, if the weather in Texas cooperates,” says Tom Wedegaertner, Director of Cottonseed Research and Marketing, Cotton Incorporated.

“Based on the latest cotton planting intention reports, 2010 may spell relief for dairy producers who want to get their cows back on cottonseed,” adds Wedegaertner. “We’re looking at a 50 percent increase in the amount of cottonseed available for dairy cattle consumption this year, if abandonment levels remain at average levels.”

The USDA’s March 31 planting intentions report projects Upland cotton acreage could reach 10.3 million acres in 2010, a 15 percent increase over 2009. USDA’s acreage report will be released on June 30.

“These cottonseed projections assume an average abandonment rate of 11.5 percent, compared to 2009’s unusually high 20 percent,” notes Wedegaertner. “We’re also expecting more seed to be produced on each acre. These factors could contribute to as much as a million tons of additional cottonseed in 2010.”

Wedegaertner admits the state to watch is Texas, where producers will add 600,000 acres to last year’s five million acres. “With half the cotton crop being produced in Texas, even a slight increase or decrease in their production will dramatically affect cottonseed availability. The good news is we will have more cottonseed, but we do need to be wary of the weather, particularly drought or hail. Crop conditions in Texas will be the most important factor determining the overall outcome of this projection.”

As of April 2, new crop cottonseed prices were about $50 per ton lower than current old crop prices, he adds.

Wedegaertner also gives some early advice to dairy producers, saying “If you can buy some new crop cottonseed, I’d strongly suggest locking in a portion of what you need for next year. Watch the weather and then consider locking in some more. Right now it’s looking really good for 2010, but the conditions could get worse before they get better.”

Cottonseed is an excellent source of fiber, protein and energy. Typical rations can include up to 15 percent cottonseed on a dry matter basis. For more information, including reports on market conditions, feeding information and a list of suppliers, visit www.cottoninc.com.