Prices down, optimism up for cotton - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Prices down, optimism up for cotton

Posted: Updated:
Andrew Sawyer Andrew Sawyer
THOMAS COUNTY, GA (WALB) -

The shirt you're wearing right now may have started as a cotton seed right here in south Georgia.

Cotton is one of the state's most profitable crops, and is essential to our economy.

We're in the middle of harvest season, so how are the yields, quality, and prices holding up?

Just three weeks ago, cotton was at a 6 month high per pound, but things have taken a downward turn.

"A lot of buying a few weeks ago, pushed the price up to upper 70's. Which is the highest it's been since may, but it has actually come right back down, dropped 7 and half cents since late October," said UGA Cooperative Extension Agent Andrew Sawyer.

Here in Thomas County and throughout the state, cotton is still king, and farmers are predicting an above average harvest.

"We've planted about 34,000 acres of cotton and we're the 8th county in the state for farm gate income of cotton, but Georgia is the 2nd producing cotton state in the country," said Sawyer.

Farmers say while the weather can make or break a crop, this year's rain has been favorable.

"Sometimes you may get too much rain at once or it may rain at the wrong time and they may drop squares," said Sawyer.

Experts say there is one major issue with some of the quality that could present a problem for the manufacturers.

"There have been reports of high micronaire cotton. We call it high mike. That's the thickness of the lint and that can be a problem in the textile process," said Sawyer.

Farmers are anticipating potential record yields of cotton for the state, but with lower prices, this may not necessarily result in record profits.

Georgia farmers planted around 300,000 fewer acres of cotton this year than last year. Farmers switched that acreage to corn, soybeans, and peanuts which were projected to bring in higher prices this year.

Copyright 2012 WALB. All rights reserved.