Optimism for the 2024 California Cotton Season

Brian German Cotton, Field & Row Crops, Industry

The 2024 California cotton season could be a good one for growers. Early estimates indicate a significant increase in plantings. President and CEO of the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association (CCGGA), Roger Isom said a driving factor in projected increases is the availability of water. Prices of other commodities have also made cotton a more attractive option for growers. “Whether it’s tomatoes or garlic or onions or corn silage. A lot of the things that guys moved to last year just aren’t there this year. So, I think you’re going to see a lot of transition back to cotton,” Isom explained.

California Cotton

Preliminary planting intentions from CCGGA indicate a 72 percent overall increase in cotton acreage. Approximately 143,000 acres of Pima are expected to be planted, which would be an increase of 70 percent from last year. While acknowledging price fluctuations, Isom remains optimistic, noting signs of increased demand and improved shipment volumes, particularly for high-quality Pima cotton. “There’s not a lot of Pima out there. So, I think as it turns, it’s going to improve,” Isom explained.

Upland acreage is also expected to increase by 83 percent to a total of 22,000 acres. “On the upland side, there’s strong demand for cottonseed for planting. I know some of the planting companies are looking for trials and want more seed. So, I think that’s encouraging,” said Isom. The estimates for the 2024 California cotton season are based on surveys conducted by CCGGA. Those figures could change with the final field surveys from the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Planting intentions this season are in stark contrast to 2023, which was one of the worst years on record for California cotton acreage. Prices were particularly challenging last year, but there is optimism for 2024 being a better year for cotton. Despite challenges posed by a strong U.S. dollar, Isom remains confident in the cyclical nature of agricultural markets and the potential for improvement. “We’ve got to see the worldwide economy improve so we can actually start moving this product and I’m starting to see signs of it; little indicators here and there,” Isom noted.

Brian German
Ag News Director / AgNet West