2009 cotton acreage is projected to decrease for the fourth consecutive year, to the lowest levels since 1983, but Tom Wedegaertner, director, cottonseed research and marketing, Cotton Incorporated, said in Wednesday’s DairyLine that cottonseed prices will remain “surprisingly reasonable.”
“We did lose a few acres in 2009,” Wedegaertner admitted, “But last year we had a very high abandonment rate on cotton acres that were not harvested.” He added that, if we have a normal abandonment this year, he expects cottonseed production to be very similar to last year, even with less acres in the ground.
He said he believes we have hit bottom on cotton acreage and commodity markets are stabilizing. Last year saw a lot of gyrations, he said, but he doesn’t expect the cottonseed market to see wild swings and to be flat in the year ahead.
Another way of looking at it is that yield per acre will be better but the main focus is the acres that don’t get harvested for various reasons. They may get hailed out in Texas or perhaps there’s a draught, so those acres are abandoned, but “If we have normal abandonment this year,” Wedegaertner said, “The yield of the acres that they do harvest, we should have a fairly normal crop or fairly similar to what we had last year on less acres.”
When should farmers book seed needs? Wedegaertner said that’s a tough question but suggests producers lock in part of their seed needs fairly early. Lock in new crop today, if it fits in the ration, he said, and “then average up or average down as we get into harvest time.” “It’s always better to get some of it booked a little bit ahead so they know they’ll have that ingredient to feed,” he concluded.