Cotton acreage, to no one’s surprise, will be up, significantly in some areas, for 2011. State cotton specialists participating in a Dow/Phytogen Cottonseed dinner meeting on the cusp of the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in Atlanta indicated all areas across the Southern cotton growing region will add acreage.

Some cotton will displace corn, specialists say, and some will compete with peanuts and soybeans for acreage. Specialists say cotton at $1 a pound is hard to beat with any other crop option.

Texas AgriLife Extension Agronomist and Cotton Specialist Gaylon Morgan said Texas acreage could top 6 million for 2011, up 1 million acres from 2010.

“We made a really good crop in 2010, especially compared to 2009,” Morgan said. “We started off with good soil moisture, turned a little dry in May but had more yield loss from insects in the Texas Blacklands and south Texas than from weather.”

He said aflatoxin in corn and harvest problems with grain sorghum because of late rainfall may push central and south Texas farmers to cotton in 2011. He anticipates the Rio Grande Valley could add 10 percent to 15 percent to 2010 acreage. A similar bump is expected for the Rolling Plains and estimates for High Plains acreage is also up.

“Central Texas cotton acreage could increase by 30 percent,” Morgan said. “Overall, Texas planted acreage could top 6 million.”

Tennessee cotton farmers could add as many as 100,000 acres and could hit a half-million planted in 2011, said University of Tennessee Cotton Specialist Chris Main.

Darren Dodds, Mississippi State University Extension cotton specialist, anticipates acreage to top 500,000, possibly to 550,000 in 2011. Most expansion will come from north of highway 82, Dodds said. Southern Mississippi has put a lot of acres into corn.

“Last year was very good for cotton,” he said.