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US Cotton Acreage Will Jump in 2024, Gro Predicts

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US acres planted to cotton are set to increase by double digits from last year, according to early forecasts from Gro’s US Planting Intentions Model.

The predicted boost to cotton acreage comes as drought eases in Texas, the No. 1 cotton-producing state. In addition, cotton prices remain elevated relative to other agricultural commodities, indicating that growing cotton could be more profitable to US farmers. Cotton futures prices have increased 7% in the last year, whereas prices for corn and soybeans have fallen 36% and 22%, respectively, as seen in this Gro display

Cotton ending stocks in the US in 2023/24 dropped to the lowest level in seven years after back-to-back years of drought weighing down on production — Texas saw its two smallest cotton crops in 37 years, as this Gro display shows. The last two seasons also saw abandonment rates soar — 47% of US cotton acres were abandoned in 2022, the highest rate on record, and 31% of acres in 2023, versus a 10-year average of 18%. 

Conditions have improved ahead of the planting season for the 2024/25 US cotton crop, which begins in April. The Gro Drought Index for Texas’s cotton-growing areas has steadily trended down since mid-December as a result of rains in the area that were likely partially fueled by El Niño. 

Gro’s Drought Index (GDI) can be used as a key metric for predicting abandoned acreage as early as March, as this report details. The relationship between the GDI and abandoned acres improves as the season progresses.

Soil moisture in the region is also trending higher compared to last year, according to Gro’s Climate Risk Navigator for Agriculture. This means that cotton acres are less likely to be abandoned this season, which could also add tonnage to the 2024/25 harvest.

Gro’s US Planting Intentions Model projects how much land will be devoted to major crops — including corn, soybeans, wheat, and cotton — in the coming year based on farm-level economics. In 2023, Gro’s US Cotton Planting Intentions Model’s acreage estimates were within 97% of the USDA’s March Prospective Plantings report, as the latest Performance Report on Gro Yield Forecast Models and Acreage Models shows.

The USDA will release its Prospective Plantings report on March 28. 

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