Farmers to plant 12 million acres of cotton in 2022

By Julie Tomascik

Cotton is expected to see an increase in planted acres in 2022, according to a survey released by the National Cotton Council (NCC).

The NCC’s 41st Annual Early Season Planting Intentions Survey showed U.S. cotton farmers anticipate planting 12 million acres of cotton this spring, an increase of 7.9% from 2021.

“Planted acreage is just one of the factors that will determine supplies of cotton and cottonseed,” Dr. Jody Campiche, NCC’s vice president of Economics and Policy Analysis, said. “Ultimately, weather and agronomic conditions are among the factors that play a significant role in determining crop size.”

Upland cotton growers intend to plant 11.9 million acres, up 7.% from 2021, while extra-long staple (ELS) cotton growers reported an increase of 158,000 acres, up 24.8%.

Using the 10-year average abandonment rate for each state, the Cotton Belt harvested area totals 9.8 million acres for 2022 with a U.S. abandonment rate of 18.9%. Using the five-year average state-level yield per harvested acre generates a cotton crop of 17.3 million bales, with 16.8 million upland bales and 438,000 ELS bales, according to NCC.

Southwest growers—which includes Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma—intend to increase cotton acreage by 7% to 7.4 million acres.

NCC noted each of the three states plan to increase cotton acres with Kansas up 15.2%, Oklahoma increasing by 5.6% and Texas calling for a 6.9% increase. Responses indicate a shift from sorghum to cotton, with Texas farmers also planting less wheat.

ELS acreage is expected to increase by 24.8% in 2022 to 158,000 acres. NCC notes the trend is likely driven by the all-time highs being seen in ELS cotton prices.

Respondents indicated an ELS increase of 30.4% in California, 16.3% in Texas, 11% in New Mexico and 5.9% in Arizona.

“History has shown that U.S. farmers respond to relative prices when making planting decisions,” Campiche said. “Relative to the average futures prices during the first quarter of 2021, prices of all commodities are trading significantly higher. However, input costs are also much higher than this time last year.”

Surveys were mailed in mid-December 2021 to farmers across the 17-state Cotton Belt, asking farmers for the number of acres intended for cotton and other crops in 2022. Survey responses were collected through mid-January.

The NCC survey is a snapshot of intentions based on market conditions at survey time with actual plantings influenced by changing market conditions and weather. Farmers will continue to monitor changes in commodity prices and input costs before finalizing their 2022 acreage decisions.

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