The 2016-2017 cotton crop year on the High Plains exceeded the expectations of many, including Plains Cotton Cooperative Association Director of Sales Grady Martin.
“There are a couple of things that made this crop unique,” Martin said. “One was the size. There is an old saying that ‘big crops get bigger.’ I think that is the perfect way to describe this one.”
The United States Department of Agriculture reported 10 million total cotton acres planted in the United States for the 2016-2017 crop year, which was a 1.4 million-acre increase from 2015-2016.
Not only did the increase in planted acres contribute to the size of the crop, but across much of the nation, weather conditions played a role in its levels of yield and quality, most notably on the High Plains of Texas.
“We had some late rains in August and then a warm October, which created the perfect conditions for this crop to finish itself out,” Martin said. “The other thing that was special about this crop is the quality, which has been higher than most crops.”
PCCA Director of Risk Management, Chris Kramedjian, said the quality and quantity levels of this year’s cotton crop have generated demand within the market.
“We have high quality, non-contaminated cotton coming out of the United States and there is usually a lot of demand for that,” Kramedjian said. “It has been a remarkable year to have a crop grow beyond expectations as much as this one.”
Improved demand in the cotton market is but one of the positive outcomes of this unforeseen crop. Martin said producers have also seen an improvement in their returns as a result, a factor that could also drive up cotton acreage for next season.
“With the yields that producers made this year, they are making more revenue per acre,” Martin said. “A lot of producers are looking at cotton, comparing it to other competing crops and thinking, ‘what do I need to plant next year?’ Right now cotton looks relatively good, so there should be more acres planted next year.”
Though the 2016-2017 cotton crop has finished, the potential held in the 2017-2018 crop is on the minds of market analysts and farmers alike.
“I think there is plenty out there to look forward to,” Kramedjian said.