Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Missouri farmers increase cotton acreage

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KRCU) - You can expect to see a lot more cotton and less rice in Southeast Missouri farm country this year. 

Futures prices of cotton recently touched 2 dollars per pound, according to Patrick Westhoff of the Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri. Just two years ago, cotton was selling for 50 cents per pound.

Therefore, Westhoff says that farmers are going to be devoting more acres to cotton this year than in years past.

“When prices for corn and other crops went very high, it made it more attractive to plant corn and soybeans than it did to plant cotton. So our cotton production declined year over year for a couple of straight years,” Westhoff said. “Then we came out of the world recession in 2010 and this year, we’ve seen cotton demand go back up again worldwide.”

Regardless, director Pat Westhoff says farmers won’t give up on corn or wheat just to plant more cotton.

“We think we’re going to see an increase most of the major crops this year. Normally if you see one crop going up it means that some other crop is going down in acreage. This may be the year where we might actually see an increase in production of three of the major crops. Corn, cotton, and, wheat could all see increased acreage in 2011 as compared to 2010,” he said.

Fewer acres will be devoted to rice, due to a drop in prices. Both cotton and rice are exclusively grown in the Southeast corner of the state.

Jacob McCleland, KRCU

Photo courtesy of the United States Department of Agriculture


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