In many areas of the Cotton Belt, producers have become more diversified when it comes to their crop mix. Thus, one of the biggest items on the winter to-do list is to begin thinking about how many acres will be allocated for each crop.
In the December Web Poll, we asked our readers to pick the top factor that will influence the number of cotton acres they plan to plant in 2012. A large majority, 72 percent, chose price. And, in most cases, the price of all commodities grown on each operation will come under close scrutiny – not just the price of cotton.
Another significant factor that will influence 2012 cotton acreage is whether areas, such as Texas, get enough rain to replenish their aquifers and raise the water levels. Although water is certainly critical, most producers continue to be cautiously optimistic for the upcoming season.
As Texas ginner Phil Hickman notes in this month’s Industry Comments, “We rely on our winter snowpack to help with the water situation. Even though the water shortage is very real, our farmers are still committed to cotton in 2012.”
Seventeen percent of the December Web Poll respondents picked long-term weather forecast as the factor that will have the most influence on how many acres of cotton they will plant this year. Rotation as the foremost influencing factor came in at eleven percent.
Following is a sampling of the comments that we received from Cotton Farming’s Web Poll respondents who wished to share their thoughts regarding how they voted.
• “Price of all crop options has the biggest influence.”
• “Although the other factors, especially rotation, will be considered, the main factor will be price.”
• “I can’t grow cotton without help from Mother Nature.”
• “Price is the only factor we can guesstimate at this time. I am already rotating, long-range forecasts are useless, and the other factors will fall into place.” – North Alabama
• “We raise dryland cotton in an area where it often dies from root rot. Rotation is important because it helps us grow cotton the next year.”
• “We depend on rainfall, not forecasts. Rainfall or snowmelt is the only way we can get water into the river.”
• “If we do not have the moisture, all else does not matter.”
• “If pricing opportunities are as at-tractive as we had this year, there’s no question that we’ll have more cotton.”
• “I want to purchase a small amount of acreage and try to grow organic cotton this year.”
• “Water is critical for us. The Ogallala Aquifer [also known as the High Plains Aquifer] is getting lower. Water metering, as well as rationing, may be coming this year. We are dependent on the Lord for rain to make a crop, even with irrigation.”
• “We prefer to plant cotton, but our cotton dies from root rot if we do not rotate. Because of the high cotton prices in 2011, we planted several hundred acres of cotton on cotton. This will reduce our 2012 cotton acres.”
In January, we are turning from a production question to a top-of-the-list issue that is of critical importance to producers – estate tax reform – and what its fate will be after the elections.
Go to http://cottonfarming.com to cast your vote and share your comments. Please include where your farming operation is located, so readers can better relate to what you are talking about. Results of the January poll will be reported in the February issue of Cotton Farming.
Web Poll Results
Which of the following factors will have the most influence on the number of cotton acres you plan to plant in 2012?
• Price – 72 %
• Rotation – 11 %
• Long-term weather forecast – 17 %
January Web Poll Question
Do you believe that estate tax reform to benefit family farms will happen in 2013 after the elections? Please explain your choice in the “Comments” section.
(3) It depends.
Register your vote at www.cottonfarming.com.