If prices stay where they are, that would be good for our economy
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
Lush young crops represent this year's budding cotton market. If prices stay where they are, that would be good for our economy.
"This is a square, and you'll have a flower, you'll have a bloom form here, and eventually a cotton ball will form there," said Don Shurley, University of Georgia Cotton Economist.
Agricultural economists say farmers planted ten to fifteen percent more acreage in space originally planned for other crops.
"You know, peanut acreage is gonna be down, and that acreage has got to go somewhere. Then cotton tends to benefit from that, and our acreage of cotton here in Georgia tends to be a lot more stable compared to other parts of the country," said Shurley.
And increased production could come at a time when cotton is selling at 90¢ a pound, a high in recent years.
"Back when farmers were making decisions of what to plant, prices were in the 80¢ - 85¢ range. So they made their decision of what to plant really based on prices less than they are right now."
But one of the world's economic powers could make market conditions unstable. "China holds 60% of the worlds cotton stocks right now, and so prices are moved depending on what China decides to do with that cotton."
He says prices could fall if China chooses to use its stocks and buy less US cotton. And if prices dip below 80¢ a pound, farmers could struggle to pay their bills. But Shurley says cotton farmers shouldn't worry about putting food on the table in this season.
"We're in a-- price wise we're in a good position. Crop wise, things are getting off to a pretty good start."
And as the crops continue to grow, farmers may be happy for picking cotton during October and November harvests.