Cotton’s Wow Factor

Carroll Smith
Carroll Smith

As the 2017 season gets underway, I am delighted and impressed by the “wow factor” reverberating throughout the cotton industry. One of the most exciting prospects is the cotton acreage increase expected across the Belt. According to the National Cotton Council’s 36th Annual Early Season Planting Intentions Survey, “U.S. cotton producers intend to plant 11 million cotton acres this spring, up 9.4 percent from 2016. Upland cotton intentions are 10.8 million acres, up 8.8 percent from 2016, while extra-long staple intentions of 266,000 acres represent a 36.9 percent increase.”

In his March Specialists Speaking comments on page 18, Mississippi cotton specialist Darrin Dodds says, “Depending on who you talk to, our growers may plant upwards of 750,000 acres this season. If so, that would be a 71 percent increase over last year and the highest planted acreage since 2006.”

Wow. If Dodds’ prediction comes to fruition, the Mississippi landscape could be snow-white this fall. Of course, many factors can influence the actual outcome of the crop no matter how many acres are planted, but farmers’ faith in cotton at this point in time is exciting news.

In addition to the acreage increase, there are other examples of cotton’s wow factor going into the 2017 season. Here are a few:

  • Texas farmers and ginners are wrapping up a projected 7.8
    million-bale crop. On page 11, Texas Cotton Ginners Association Executive Vice President Tony Williams says, “Most areas (of Texas) experienced an exceptional crop in 2016, soil moisture is good, the market is looking up, and plans to build a large gin in the Texas Panhandle are in the works.”
  • Farmers have many cotton varieties from which to choose that have shown their ability to produce exceptional yield and quality.
  • New herbicide technologies have been registered across the Belt to give farmers powerful tools to strengthen their weed control programs.
  • Cotton prices have risen and the market appears to be stabilizing.
  • The Senate recently confirmed the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as the new EPA Administrator. According to the National Cotton Council, “NCC Chairman Ronnie Lee, a Bronwood, Ga., cotton producer noted that Pruitt has been a tireless critic of some of EPA’s regulations and has promised to revamp the agency.”
  • Otis Shiver, a 93-year-old Alabama cotton farmer who is looking forward to his 69th cotton crop, says on page 8, “I just like growing cotton. I have worked in cotton all my life and that’s what I enjoy.”

Wow, 2017 certainly appears to be shaping up as a stellar year for “white gold.” Cotton is rolling, so get onboard!

If you have comments, please send them to: Cotton Farming Magazine, 7201 Eastern Ave., Germantown, TN, 38138. Contact Carroll Smith via email at

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