“Growers probably planted 8.89 million acres with the fiber, down 6.1 percent from last year and the fewest since 1983, based on the average estimates of nine analysts, traders and economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The U.S. Department of Agriculture projected 8.81 million acres in March and will update its acreage estimate on June 30. .
““The increased plantings themselves won’t surprise anyone,” said Mike Stevens, an analyst for Swiss Financial Services in Mandeville, Louisiana. “The suspense will be in the abandonment. How many acres are going to be allowed to fail?” .
“An expected plunge in U.S. planting helped fuel a 17 percent rally in cotton futures this year through yesterday, as farmers switched to more profitable crops, including soybeans and corn. The price touched an eight-month high of 61.69 cents a pound on ICE Futures U.S. in New York on June 12. .
“Farmers in Texas, the largest U.S. grower, and Arizona, may have planted more than expected three months ago, said Peter Egli, a director of risk management in Phoenix for U.K.-based Plexus Cotton Ltd. Some additional acres also may have come from Georgia, the second-largest U.S. grower, where some farmers chose cotton over peanuts, said Donald Shurley, a professor and extension economist at the University of Georgia in Tifton. .
“A drop in fertilizer prices also may have made the fiber, which usually has higher costs per acre to grow than soybeans, cheaper to plant than previously estimated, Shurley said. Still, of the estimated 9.2 million acres U.S. farmers probably planted with cotton, only 8.1 million may be harvested, he said. .
Crop Damage
“Dry conditions in Texas and heavy rain followed by lack of precipitation in the some southern states may destroy some cotton fields, analysts said. .
“John R.C. Robinson, an associate professor and extension economist at Texas A&M University in College Station, said that of the 8.6 million acres he expects U.S. farmers to plant this year, only 7.5 million may be harvested. .
“Based on the 10-year average for abandonment of 10.7 percent of the planted crop, farmers probably will harvest just 7.8 million acres this year, said Gary Raines, an economist at broker FCStone Group Inc. in Nashville, Tennessee. He estimates planting totaled 8.7 million acres. .
““We’ll see what curveball Mother Nature throws to us in coming months,” Raines said. .
“Cotton futures for December delivery fell 0.43 cent, or 0.77 percent, to 57.06 cents a pound at 10:49 a.m. on ICE Futures, partly because a decline in the dollar made U.S. commodities cheaper for buyers using other currencies. .
“U.S. 2009 Cotton Plantings Company Texas A&M 8.6 Texas Tech 8.75 Bondurant 9.0 First Capitol 8.915 FCStone 8.7 University of Georgia 9.2 Varner Bros. 8.9 Plexus 8.95 Swiss Financial 9.0 .
“Average 8.89 .
“USDA March 31 Estimate 8.81 2008 U.S. Cotton Plantings 9.47 .