While cotton prices have risen for 10 straight months, the longest streak since 1973, U.S. growers are struggling as China’s demand for the grain surges and drought damages cotton-growing prospects in Texas Shifting from cotton to cereals, U.S. cotton planting area is expected to decline by 5% this year.
U.S. farmers are expected to sow 11.5 million acres in 2021, about 5% less than the previous year, according to estimates from nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Last year, U.S. cotton production fell by 25% year-on-year as bad weather reduced yields and more growers chose to give up harvesting.
An expected reduction in U.S. cotton production means cotton supplies will become tighter at a time of pent-up global demand for textiles. Global cotton consumption is expected to soar 13% this year, which would be the largest increase in at least 60 years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Cotton Council (NCC) will release their preliminary planting forecasts in February.
Peter Egli, director of Praxair Cotton Ltd. in the United Kingdom, said that the 5% figure “is a moving target.” He expected that the US cotton area will drop to 11 million acres and will be uncertain. The nature is determined by the increasing demand for other crops. China’s massive imports of U.S. grains such as soybeans and corn have pushed grain prices to their highest levels in years, outpacing a rebound in cotton prices. Grains are competing for cotton acreage, and farmers are interested in these crops.
In the Mississippi Delta and the southeastern U.S., cotton will lose land to corn, soybeans and even peanuts, as will southernmost Texas and Kansas, said John Robinson, an economist at Texas A&M University. Some growers in Midwestern states who recently started growing cotton may return to the grain. </p