What is in this article?:
- Millions of abandoned cotton acres in Texas dampening U.S. outlook
- Major acreage abandonment
- Larger world crop expected
“It looks like Texas is turning into a desert state,” says Carl G. Anderson, and the ongoing severe drought will have an adverse impact on what had promised to be a huge cotton production year. “At this time,' he says, "I’d estimate that 3 million of the 7.1 million acres planted this season will be abandoned — the largest abandonment since 1981.”
Major acreage abandonment
Millions of acres will be abandoned in Texas, Anderson says.
“At this time, I’d estimate that 3 million of the 7.1 million acres planted this season will be abandoned — the largest abandonment since 1981.”
Much of the state’s irrigated cotton depends on getting some rainfall during the season to help the crop along, Anderson notes, and the lack of rain this year will also hurt the irrigated crop.
“Last year, we made 2 bales per acre, 1,000 pounds of lint, on our irrigated land. If we don’t start getting some rains to supplement irrigation, that crop will be, at best, 1.5 bales. Some farmers are saying irrigated land will produce only a bale per acre.”
The June 30 USDA report shows just how much impact $1-plus cotton had on planted acres, he says.
“The 7.1 million acres planted this year was a huge increase increase over the 5.5 million acres in 2010. But with Texas standing to lose 35 percent of this year’s crop to the drought, the huge increase in planted acres is not going to contribute much to the rebuilding of U.S. stocks.
“We could easily have made 8.5 million bales on this year’s planted acreage, but now we’re looking at maybe half a crop — 4 million to 5 million bales.”
Other crops are suffering, too, Anderson says.
“We’ve got corn in the Blacklands up around El Campo that appraisers are saying will produce zero to 15 bushels per acre. We don’t expect much out of this year’s dryland corn crop. There’s about half a crop in the Panhandle, but it’s mostly irrigated. Our wheat crop was only about 25 percent of normal.
“So, the crop outlook in Texas for 2011 is not very good. Thank goodness for the insurance programs, even though the federal crop insurance program can stand a lot of improvement. I’m also told the planting seed companies will be adjusting the cost of seed and technology fees on abandoned acres.”
Other states in the Southwest and across the South also have areas of drought, Anderson notes, and “with Texas’ huge losses, we could be looking at a U.S. crop of only 16 million to 16.5 million bales. We’re also looking at a weak export market, maybe in the 11 million to 12 million bale range, down from 15 million.”