NCC Survey Suggests U.S. Producers to Plant 9.8 Million Acres of Cotton in 2024

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – U.S. cotton producers intend to plant 9.8 million cotton acres this spring, down 3.7 percent from 2023, according to the National Cotton Council’s 43rd Annual Early Season  Planting Intentions Survey

Upland cotton intentions are 9.6 million acres, down 4.3 percent from 2023, while extra-long staple (ELS) intentions of 202,000 acres represent a 37.7 percent increase. The detailed survey results  were announced today during the 2024 National Cotton Council Annual Meeting. 

Dr. Jody Campiche, the NCC’s vice president, Economics & Policy Analysis, said, “Planted acreage is just one of the factors that will determine supplies of cotton and cottonseed. Ultimately,  weather and agronomic conditions are among the factors that play a significant role in determining  crop size.” 

Using ten-year average abandonment rates along with a few state-level adjustments to account for current moisture conditions, Cotton Belt harvested area totals 8.1 million acres for 2024 with a  U.S. abandonment rate of 17.9 percent. Using the five-year average yield for the Southeast and the  Midsouth and the 10-year average yield for the Southwest and the West generates a cotton crop of  14.6 million bales, with 14.0 million upland bales and 538,000 ELS bales.  

The NCC questionnaire, mailed in mid-December 2023 to producers across the 17-state Cotton Belt, asked producers for the number of acres devoted to cotton and other crops in 2023 and  the acres planned for the coming season. Survey responses were collected through mid-January. Campiche noted, “History has shown that U.S. farmers respond to relative prices when making planting decisions. As compared to average futures prices during the first quarter of 2023, all commodity prices were lower during the survey period, but cotton had the smallest decline. As a  result, the price ratios of cotton to corn and soybeans were higher than in 2023. Based on historical  price relationships, this would generally suggest an increase in cotton acreage. However, the 2024  crop year could go against that relationship due to high production costs relative to current prices.”

Southeast respondents indicate a 4.8 percent decline in cotton acreage to 2.1 million acres. In  Alabama, the survey responses indicate an 8.8 percent decrease in cotton acreage. In Florida,  respondents indicated 6.2 percent less cotton. Georgia growers expect to plant 0.6 percent less cotton,  while the survey indicates a 12.6 percent decline in North Carolina’s cotton area. South Carolina growers expect to plant 3.3 percent less cotton, with Virginia growers reducing cotton acreage by 9.6 percent. According to the survey responses, the expected decline in cotton acres is due to an increase  in corn, soybeans, and peanuts.  

Mid-South growers intend to plant 1.6 million acres, a decline of 2.4 percent from the  previous year. In Arkansas, acreage is expected to decline by 7.3 percent, while Louisiana growers  expect to plant 5.0 percent less cotton. In Mississippi, cotton acreage is expected to increase by 1.3 percent. Missouri growers expect to plant 0.3 percent more cotton, while Tennessee acreage is  expected to decline by 0.8 percent. Survey responses suggest an increase in soybeans and ‘other  crops’. 

Growers in the Southwest intend to plant 5.2 percent less cotton. Kansas growers expect to  plant 0.8 percent less cotton, while Oklahoma producers expect to reduce cotton acreage by 6.9 percent. Texas acreage is expected to decline by 5.1 percent. Southwest respondents indicated an  increase in corn, sorghum and wheat for 2024.  

In the West, upland cotton acreage is expected to increase by 21.5 percent. Upland cotton  acreage is expected to increase by 3.7 percent in Arizona, 62.9 percent in California, and 46.9 percent  in New Mexico. According to the survey responses, the expected increase in upland cotton acres is  due to a decrease in corn and ‘other crops’. 

ELS acreage is expected to increase by 37.7 percent in 2024. Arizona growers expect to plant  14.3 percent more ELS cotton, while California growers expect to plant 62.2 percent more ELS  cotton. More normal weather conditions are expected to play a role in the increased acreage as  excessively wet conditions in 2023 prevented some acres from being planted. New Mexico ELS  cotton acreage is expected to decline by 42.1 percent, while Texas growers expect to plant 22.0 percent more ELS cotton. Overall, U.S. cotton growers intend to plant 202,000 ELS acres in 2024.  

NCC delegates were reminded the expectations are a snapshot of intentions based on market  conditions at survey time with actual plantings influenced by changing market conditions and  weather. Producers will continue to monitor changes in commodity prices and input costs before  finalizing their 2024 acreage decisions. Since the survey period, cotton prices have increased while  corn and soybean prices have further declined. The change in the price ratios could result in higher  cotton acreage than reported on the NCC survey.