WASHINGTON - Southwest farmers will plant nearly 7 million acres of cotton in 2004, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Planting Intentions Report.

Texas acreage will jump from 5.6 million in 2003 to 6.2 million, a 9 percent increase, according to the report survey, which was conducted March 1. Oklahoma farmers will plant 210,000 acres, up from 180,000 last year and a 17 percent increase. New Mexico planting intentions show a 10 percent increase to 68,000 acres, up from 56,000 in 2003.

The largest percentage increase will come from Kansas where farmers’ planting intentions indicate a 130,000-acre crop, a 44 percent increase over last year.

Nationally, NASS estimates a 14.4-million-acre crop, a 7 percent increase over last year. Upland acreage is pegged at 14.2 million, also a 7 percent increase. American-Pima cotton growers indicate a 226,600-acre crop, up 27 percent from 2003. Most of that increase will be in California where producers indicate they’ll plant 50,000 more Pima acres than last year, pushing acreage to 200,000.

North Carolina and Mississippi cotton farmers will plant fewer acres of cotton this year. All other cotton-producing states indicate an increase. Mississippi intentions show 1.1 million acres, a 1 percent drop from 2003. North Carolina acreage is anticipated at 790,000, a 2 percent drop. Georgia acreage will move to 1.35 million, a 4 percent increase.

For more information on planting intentions for U.S. crops, go to http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/reports/nassr/field/pcp-bbp/.

e-mail: rsmith@primediabusiness.com