The old cowboy saying, “Dance with the one that brung ya’,” is all about staying loyal to the person who brought you to the party in the first place. In the figurative sense, “the party” has a positive connotation and usually means “the good place where you are now.”
For farmers in the Southwest, a person didn’t bring them to the party, but cotton did. And these days, Texas producers are planting a lot of acres to this valued crop and reporting some outstanding yields.
Historically, even though cotton has always been a staple in the Southwest, yield and quality weren’t always the best when compared to other cotton-growing regions in the United States. In fact, cotton consultant Donald Kitten in Lubbock, Texas, addressed this topic in the “Cotton Consultant’s Corner” column in the November issue of Cotton Farming.
“In the mid-1980s, I visited a high production region of the United States to see what three-bale cotton looked like at harvest,” Kitten says. “At the time, good cotton yields in the Texas High Plains were in the two-bales-per-acre range. Times have changed.
“Now, in good years, our producers are making yields I would not have thought possible back then,” he adds. “Three-bale yields are not so uncommon these days, and some good irrigated fields top four bales per acre. This is a testament to the innovativeness of our producers, superior seed genetics and technology and more efficient irrigation systems.”
For the past couple of years, overall U.S. cotton acres have dropped for various reasons, such as price, grain plantings and water availability just to name a few. However, talk on the turnrow indicates that cotton acres will be back up in 2010.
In October, we polled our readers to see where they think the biggest cotton acreage increase will occur. After the votes were tallied, 57 percent say the Southwest will pick up the most acres, followed by 23 percent of the respondents looking for the increase to show up in the Southeast. The Mid-South and West tied, with each pulling in 10 percent of the vote, respectively.
Following is a sampling of the comments we received from our readers who voted in the October Web Poll in which they predicted where we will see the biggest increase in U.S. cotton acres in 2010.
• “I think cotton acres will increase in the Southwest where one will find some of the best farmers who are involved in the use of technology, drip irrigation, seed varieties, land care, cotton marketing co-ops, etc.”
• “I don’t think (cotton) will ever come back in the Tennessee Valley here in north Alabama.”
• “I believe we will see a significant increase in cotton acreage in the Southeast, more specifically the Mid-South, since this is where cotton has seen some of its biggest acreage loss.”
• “I believe the Southeast will gain (cotton acres) because the grain bubble is about to bust!”
• “Cotton acres will increase in the Southwest, where we say, ‘Dance with the one that brung ya’.’”
After a year of early drought followed by almost unprecedented late-season rainfall in different areas of the Belt, many cotton farmers will be trying to recoup some of the losses they have suffered this year.
While farmers are considering their options, we are polling our readers to find out if they think the SURE program and crop insurance need to be tweaked to better serve cotton producers. Cast your vote and share your thoughts on this subject in the “Comments” section.
To participate, go to www.cottonfarming.com. The results of the December poll will be reported in the Cotton Farming February issue.
Web Poll Results
In October, we asked: Where do you think we will see the biggest increase in U.S. cotton acres in 2010 and why?
• Southeast – 23 %
• Mid-South – 10 %
• Southwest – 57 %
• West – 10 %
December Web Poll Question
Do the SURE program and crop insurance need to be tweaked to better serve cotton producers?
Please share your thoughts in the “Comments” section.
(3) It depends.
Register your vote at www.cottonfarming.com
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