Most of the reduction in acreage came in the Delta, which suffered through one of the worst planting seasons in history. The region was hit with cold snaps, wet and dry spells, flooding and frost, which led to massive replanting and abandonment.
USDA reduced its planted acreage forecast in the Delta by 285,000 acres from last month to 3.73 million acres. The biggest reductions came in Mississippi, which fell from 1.4 million acres to 1.18 million acres and Louisiana, from 660,000 acres to 580,000 acres.
Tennessee’s planted acreage remained unchanged from last month at 580,000 acres despite losing 26,000 acres to flooding this spring. USDA said Arkansas planted 1 million acres in cotton this spring and Missouri, 390,000 acres.
Producers in Texas planted 100,000 more acres than originally intended, according to USDA, while California growers planted 130,000 fewer upland acres than intended in March. Estimated acreage is 9 percent below last year.
According to Joe Nicosia, CEO, Allenberg Cotton Co., the acreage estimate is close to trade estimates of 14.5 to 14.6 million acres, “which is almost a non-event for the cotton market today.”
At that acreage, Nicosia projects a 17.3 to 17.4-million-bale crop, “with roughly a 20 percent abandonment in Texas.” The estimate is 1.2 million bales below what production would be at trend yields “which shows how much of the current crop condition is already in the market,” he said.
The worst possible scenario for cotton production is 16.7 million bales, he added. “We’re still in a million bale range.”
Asked if cotton acreage is still an issue, Nicosia said, “Yes, but the potential of this crop is what the market is looking at, which means weather.”
USDA projected U.S. corn acreage at 78.9 million acres, a 4 percent increase from 2001. Farmers reduced corn plantings 100,000 acres from their March intentions.
Persistent precipitation in the eastern Corn Belt prevented farmers from getting into their fields and limited the acreage planted to corn. However, states in the western Corn Belt almost offset the acreage decrease in the east as they experienced good weather and were able to plant more acres than originally intended.
USDA estimated soybean acreage at 73 million acres, down 2 percent from last year and up 27,000 acres from March intentions. Farmers reported that 83 percent of the intended soybean acreage had been planted at the time of the survey interview compared to an average of 77 percent for the past 10 years.
Some analysts questioned USDA’s adding to the corn acreage figure when they had subtracted acres due to adverse weather conditions in May. But they also acknowledged that USDA’s forecasts have generally proven to be accurate more often than not.
“You don’t win fight USDA’s numbers most years,” said an analyst.