During the recent Beltwide Cotton Conferences several industry experts gave recaps of the 2012 cotton crop, and the consensus was that last year’s crop was record-breaking in some parts of the Cotton Belt and heart-breaking in other areas.

Perhaps the most frustrating part of cotton production, moving toward the 2013 planting season, is the sense of frustration among growers.

Other than weather factors, they seem to have more than adequate tools to manage weed resistance problems, diseases and other production challenges, yet marketing uncertainties beyond their control continue to force growers to reduce acreage.

Add to the bright side of cotton production, entry into the marketplace by all the major cottonseed companies exciting new varieties that are almost certain to continue to push cotton yields upward.

In 2012, the trend toward higher yields continued. In the Delta and Southeast, two bale cotton was the state average across both regions. In California and Arizona three bale per acre cotton was the norm.

In each region there were growers who topped five bales per acre. The production news for cotton remains outstanding, the economic side — not so much.


In Georgia, where growers harvested 1,285,000 acres of cotton, or about half the Southeast total, the state average topped 1,000 pounds of lint per acre.

Georgia Consultant Jack Royal says this was one of the best, if not the best cotton crop he’s seen in and around Leary, Ga., during his career.

North Carolina continues to be the second largest cotton producing state in the Southeast, but that ranking is dwindling rapidly. Last year cotton acreage in the state was down about 120,000 acres and most growers contend acres will decline significantly again this year.