The National Cotton Council's (NCC) annual planting intentions survey says U.S. producers intend to increase cotton plantings 0.6% to 13.73 million acres in 2005. Upland intentions are 13.48 million acres, up 0.5% from the previous year, and intended ELS area is 255,000 acres, up 2.3% from 2004.

Assuming average abandonment, the harvested area would be approximately 12.35 million acres. Applying each state's trend yield to 2005 projected harvested acres generates a 18.86 million bale crop, with 18.16 million bales of upland cotton and 691,000 bales of ELS cotton. NCC says there is significant upside potential in production.

While a repeat of 23 million bales is possible, more moderate yield and abandonment variations could move the crop between 16 and 21 million bales, according to NCC.

With average cotton yield, and using the average lint-seed ratio, cottonseed production would be 6.85 million tons.

Allowing for moderate yield variations generates a reasonable production interval of 5.5-7.5 million tons.