Are you taking an out-of-state summer vacation?|
Story Archives: In the land of cotton, soybeans are king
- 2013 - 384 articles
- 2012 - 1160 articles
- 2011 - 1177 articles
- 2010 - 810 articles
- 2009 - 779 articles
- 2008 - 949 articles
- December 2008 - 88 articles
- November 2008 - 73 articles
- October 2008 - 71 articles
- September 2008 - 91 articles
- August 2008 - 98 articles
- July 2008 - 98 articles
- June 2008 - 60 articles
- May 2008 - 66 articles
- April 2008 - 108 articles
- April 29th, 2008 (Tuesday) - 16 articles
- April 23rd, 2008 (Wednesday) - 1 articles
- April 22nd, 2008 (Tuesday) - 21 articles
- April 18th, 2008 (Friday) - 1 articles
- April 17th, 2008 (Thursday) - 1 articles
- April 16th, 2008 (Wednesday) - 18 articles
- April 15th, 2008 (Tuesday) - 5 articles
- April 8th, 2008 (Tuesday) - 25 articles
- April 2nd, 2008 (Wednesday) - 12 articles
- April 1st, 2008 (Tuesday) - 8 articles
- March 2008 - 70 articles
- February 2008 - 48 articles
- January 2008 - 78 articles
|In the land of cotton, soybeans are king|
With corn and soybean futures continuing to rise, fewer Louisiana farmers have opted to plant cotton this year than in any year since the late 1800s.
According to estimates released by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture, just 280,000 acres of cotton will be planted in Louisiana this year.
That's down more than a third from the estimated 450,000 acres planted last year.
LSU AgCenter's Carol Pinnell-Alison said that while a number of factors have driven producers away from cotton, the largest issue facing American cotton producers is the state of the global market.
"It costs us more per acre to produce a pound of cotton," said Pinnell-Alison. "We just can't compete on price in the world market for what we can make cotton for."
Additionally, much of the nation's textile industry has relocated overseas. Pinnell-Alison said that added another level of cost to producing cotton for the world market.
"It makes it a little more difficult to compete price-wise, when you're having to ship cotton overseas to where the textile mills are," Pinnel-Alison said.
Local farmer Buckshot Sims said he understood why some farmers were turning away from cotton, but he has stuck with the crop because "it has always been good" to him.
Sims is one of a handful of Franklin Parish farmers who will plant cotton this year.
He estimated 60 percent of his fields would be cotton and 40 percent would be turned to corn.
Sims said one reason he opted to stay with cotton was because he's set up for it.
"I was also able to take advantage when the prices went higher," Sims said.
Last year, Sims estimated he sold cotton crops for an average of $750 per acre with inputs of about $500 per acre.
Sims said he believed another contributing factor to the decrease in cotton acreage was forward-booking of corn, soybean and grain crops.
He pointed to a number of local farmers who had agreed to sell corn at a set price several years in advance. Many of those farmers did not anticipate a rise in fuel prices and fertilizer costs.
Increasing costs meant farmers were planting corn to fulfill a contract that no longer made enough money. So many farmers opted to plant even more acres of corn so they could charge more per bushel in an attempt to get their average per-bushel take higher.
Pinnell-Alison said rising costs have pushed farmers away from corn as well. Now, many of them are turning to soybeans.
"When fuel prices are high, that increases nitrogen fertilizer costs," said Pinnell-Alison.
"Even though the producers are getting a very good price for their corn, I'm not sure that price is offsetting the cost of production with the price of fuel and fertilizer," Pinnel-Alison said.
Since soybeans produce their own nitrogen at the root, that means farmers have to spend less to grow a crop that can yield a per-acre price similar to corn, Pinnell-Alison said.
Pinnell-Alison added there are cotton production infrastructure concerns to think about as well.
"If you don't have that certain number of acres to keep the gins running and warehouses open, then down the road you want to switch back to cotton, it's not easy to reopen a gin once it's been closed for a while," Pinnell-Alison said.
Though Sims said he plants cotton every year because he continues to make money on the crop, he pointed to another reason to stick with the plant known throughout the South as "White Gold."
"Lord knows, cotton is what held this parish together for years," Sims said. "I keep saying cotton is going to come back, but I've been saying that for 10 years."