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Cotton producers to increase plantings

SAN ANTONIO – U.S. cotton producers intend to plant 12.5 million acres of cotton this spring, up 14 percent from 2010, and less corn, soybeans, specialty crops and peanuts, according to the National Cotton Council’s 28th Annual Early Season Planting Intentions Survey released at the council’s annual meeting here last weekend.

Upland cotton intentions are 12.3 million acres, an increase of nearly 14 percent from 2010, while extra-long staple (ELS) intentions of 251,000 acres represent a 23 percent increase. In California, where farmers intend to increase cotton plantings at the expense of specialty crops, actual plantings ultimately could be dictated by water costs and availability, the report noted.

The NCC survey, mailed in mid-December to producers across the 17-state Cotton Belt, asked for their intended 2011 cotton acreage as well as for their intended plantings of other crops in 2011. Survey responses were collected through mid-January.

NCC Vice President Gary Adams emphasized that, while record high cotton prices mean “the cotton market is currently calling for more acres,” prices of other crops are also high and producers’ annual plantings could be different from their intentions.