California Cotton Primed for Success in 2018

Brian GermanField & Row Crops, Industry

California cotton growers are anticipating a solid year in 2018. There is so much confidence in the industry moving forward, some growers are considering planting cotton for the first time.

California CottonCalifornia Cotton Ginners and Growers Association President and CEO Roger Isom noted that he has been receiving calls lately from growers who have not planted cotton in a while, inquiring about the latest varieties. “I actually took a call from a pretty large grower who’s never grown cotton before, who’s looking at growing cotton this year,” Isom said.

Isom also reported that while prices may not be the best they could ask for this year, they are not too bad either. Growers are most excited about the current water supplies in California and are hoping for a much earlier allocation announcement than what was seen this year. “We’re starting off in a really good position. The reservoirs are way up compared to what it’s been for the last three or four years,” Isom said.

Coming off a few years of substantial yields, reports indicate yields have decreased somewhat this year. Some complications during the growing season have caused this year to be more of a return to average. “We had some early Lygus damage and then the heat that we had this summer was probably a little more than people expected,” said Isom.

While yields are not as strong as previous years, growers are pleased with the quality of this year’s crop. “The quality is really good,” Isom said. “Talking to several of the gins, the harvest is actually coming along pretty quickly.” A report from USDA shows about 65 of California cotton has been harvested.

California cotton acreage has already expanded by more than 30 percent when compared to a year ago.  Increased interest in growing cotton in the upcoming year has the potential to cause even more growth in overall acreage. “I think things are lining up for another good year in 2018,” Isom stated. “We’ve got a gin that’s going to increase their roller ginning capacity this next year at one of their gins, so I think there’s definite optimism.”

Listen to the interview below.
Roger Isom