LUBBOCK, Texas – The record year for cotton production in Texas was 1949, according to data complied by the Texas Agricultural Statistics Service.

That year, Texas cotton farmers planted 11.33 million acres and carried 11.1 million to harvest. The average yield per acre came in at just over half a bale, actually 261 pounds per acre, for a whopping total production of 6,040,000 bales. The average price received, as the 1949 crop was marketed, was 28.1 cents per pound.

In 1926, the previous record was set at 5,628,000 bales. However, it took almost 18.4 million planted acres, of which 17.7 million made it to harvest, to produce that crop. The 1926 crop sold for an average price per pound of only 12.7 cents per pound.

Compare '26 and '49 with 2004. According to the most recent forecasts from National Agricultural Statistics Service, we're going to rocket through the state record to a new high of 6.3 million bales of cotton produced in Texas this year. And, we'll grow that on a predicted harvest acreage of 5.5 million acres, less than half the '49 area, demonstrating the management and production efficiencies of today's cotton farming operations.

Even though, right now, cotton market prices are sitting in a range from 42 to 46 cents, growers are supported by a farm bill that works. It will give them loan rate (51.6 cents) plus or minus a premium or discount for quality, a potential equity for their cotton at maybe 3 to 4 cents per pound, plus the farm program supports decoupled from actual production in the form of Direct and Counter-Cyclical payments.

Roger Haldenby writes for Plains Cotton Growers Inc.

e-mail: rsmith@primediabusiness.com