Cotton crop off to best start in years

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Published: June 3,2010

Tags: agriculture, cotton, Weather

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — Spring rains have been kind to most Mississippi farmers, and conditions are offering cotton one of its best starts in recent years.

Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said most of the state’s crop has been slightly ahead of schedule.

“The weather has not caused a significant amount of replanting, but there are always exceptions, and if you are one of those farmers, it is significant,” Dodds said. “We also have had some fields needing replanting because of herbicide damage.”

Dodds said growers have been able to work between rains to get fields ready and the crop planted. Mississippi producers are predicted to plant 340,000 acres of cotton, an increase of 11 percent from 2009 but not even close to the 1.2 million acres planted in 2005 and 2006.

Extension agricultural economist John Michael Riley said even with the increased planted acreage, the U.S. Department of Agriculture expects demand to be greater than supply for the 2010 U.S. crop. Domestic and foreign demand is making cotton prices stronger than in recent years.

“Current December futures price is running around 78 cents per pound, compared to 59 cents for the 2009 December futures during the last week of May last year,” Riley said. “While all markets are unstable right now because of the uncertainty in Europe, cotton appears to be holding its own.”

Riley said cotton seems to be weathering the financial events stemming from the economic crisis in Greece better than most agricultural commodities. U.S. exports remain strong with India and China blocking exports from their respective countries.

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