After a record-breaking crop last year, this year the West Texas cotton crop is taking a beating from prolonged dry weather. Dry weather is also impacting states in the Southeast and Midsouth.

About one-third of Texas cotton acres will be abandoned, estimates Carl Anderson, Texas A&M Extension specialist (2 million acres of the 6.4 million). “That compares with a 6% abandonment last year,” he says.

Anderson says the Texas crop is hurting, with 50% rated very poor to poor as of July 1, and only 20% rated good to excellent. “In 1998, which was a very bad year for Texas, we abandoned 42% of our planted acreage. This year is close to that.”

Anderson estimates that the Texas crop could total around 4.5 million bales this season.

“Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas have a potential of producing around 5 million bales in 2006, almost 4 million bales less than last year's 8.9 million bale combined crop,” says Anderson.

According to O.A. Cleveland, professor emeritus, Mississippi State University, South Carolina owns one of the better cotton crops in the Southeast, although it's still average at best. Alabama is having the most problems, but conditions improved in North Carolina, Virginia and Florida.

Southeast cotton growers planted 3.6 million acres of cotton this spring, up 11% over last year.

Midsouth cotton producers planted 4.21 million acres in 2006, up 6% over last year. Cleveland says there could be better-than-average yields in Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana, although Louisiana's crop has suffered from drought.
-Farm Press