2017 Prospective Plantings for Georgia

In this week’s Georgia Cotton Commission update we will discuss the potential amount of cotton plantings this year. The National Cotton Council’s 2017 Plantings Intentions Report indicated 1.114 million acres of GA cotton this year, which is about 3% less than the 1.180 million acres planted in 2016. The USDA March Prospective Plantings Report indicated 1.300 million acres, or about 10% more cotton than last year. This difference in numbers is likely due to when the surveys were conducted. The NCC survey was conducted from mid-December of 2016 through mid-January of 2017. The USDA survey was conducted during the first two weeks of March. From January to March 2017, the December 2017 futures contract for cotton increased from approximately 69 cents to 75 cents. This price increase is only part of the story. Many producers have indicated that the lower price of corn and the inability of fitting soybeans into a long-term rotation, have caused them to go back to cotton this year. In total, according to USDA numbers, GA will plant 2.69 million acres in our largest 5 row crops: cotton, peanuts, corn, soybeans, and sorghum. This is about 100,000 more row crop acres than last year.

2017 GA planted acres

Online Tool To Aid in Thrips Management

In this week’s Georgia Cotton Commission update we want to explain the new Thrips Infestation Predictor for Cotton online tool. This thrips model was produced at NC State with collaboration from cotton entomologist across the Southeast, including UGA’s Phillip Roberts and Mike Toews. This model will help producers understand how bad thrips may be in a given field based on planting date, temperature, rainfall, and prior knowledge about the biology of thrips themselves. Given these parameters, growers can used this model, which features a Google Map style interface, to drop a pin at their field location and select a planting date. The model will produce a chart that shows how likely thrips are to infest that location at that planting date and other similar planting dates. The level of thrips activity indicated in this model should give producers a good indicator of which thrips management strategies are necessary during early seedling growth. This model is another great tool available for farmers to use in preparation for this year’s cotton crop. To find the model, visit the UGA Cotton Team’s website at http://www.UGACotton.com.

Click here to visit the Thrips Infestation Predictor for Cotton online tool.

Click here to read Dr. Phillip Roberts article about the tool.


Lee, McMillan Testify on Capitol Hill

Earlier this week, Georgia cotton and peanut farmers Ronnie Lee and Tim McMillan testified before the Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, which is part of the House Agriculture Committee.

Ronnie Lee is from Bronwood and was testifying on behalf of the National Cotton Council, in which Lee currently serves as Chairman. Lee stressed to the Subcommittee the need for cotton to be put back into Title 1 of the 2014 Farm Bill. Lee noted that the WTO Brazil case dictated that cotton lint would not have a Title 1 program during the Farm Bill debate and STAX seemed to be the solution. Unfortunately STAX was not passed with all of its original provisions, mainly a reference price, and therefore has not provided adequate support for American cotton farmers.

Tim McMillan is from Enigma and testified on behalf of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation. McMillan stressed the need for keeping the current peanut provisions in the next Farm Bill which is scheduled for 2018. McMillan also stated that the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation represents 80% of US peanut production and they support the National Cotton Council’s current cottonseed PLC/ARC proposal.


2,200 Reached During 2017 Production Meetings

In this week’s Georgia Cotton Commission update we want to inform you that the Commission reached just over 2,200 growers and others interested in cotton during the 2017 production meeting season. Each year, county agents contact the UGA Cotton Team to set up cotton production meetings in most of the counties that grow cotton. The Georgia Cotton Commission assist in sponsoring these meetings by covering half of the cost of the meeting. During the meetings, we are also able to spend a few minutes updating the participants about the Commission’s activities over the past year as well as any future concerns or outlook that we may have. Last year we reached just over 1,800 people in our production meetings. The 22% increase in participation this year is a strong signal that many growers are more interested in cotton production when compared to last year. With the recent uptick in the December futures price of cotton and the increased meeting participation we saw this winter, it can be expected that GA will plant at least as much cotton as we did last year, if not slightly more.

Secretary of Ag Nominee Sonny Perdue Gets Hearing

Yesterday the US Senate Agriculture Committee held the confirmation hearing for former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to be the next Secretary of Agriculture. Governor Perdue was introduced by former US Senator and former Ag Committee Chairman Saxby Chambliss and US Representative David Scott, who currently serves on the House Ag Committee. Both Senator Chambliss and Congressman Scott are from Georgia and are good friends of the cotton industry.

During Governor Perdue’s opening statement, he laid out his top 4 priorities as Secretary of Agriculture if confirmed. First, Governor Perdue said he would focus on creating jobs for rural America. Second, he said he would like to prioritize customer service at USDA. Third, Perdue said that he would ensure a safe and viable food supply. And last, he said he work with farmers to help them sustain the land for future generations. During the question and answer portions of the hearing, Perdue mentioned on several occasions that he understood the difficulty that cotton farmers have gone through these last couple of years. He committed to working with Congress and others in the administration to ensure that farmers and consumers needs are adequately met in the next farm bill.

Other notable agricultural interest from Georgia were also in attendance at the hearing. Congressman Sanford Bishop, AFBF President Zippy Duvall, GA Ag Commissioner Gary Black, and State Senator Tyler Harper all behind Perdue and next to his family during the hearing.

Click here to watch the full hearing from the Senate Ag Committee. 

screenshot_Sonny Perdue hearing2screenshot_Sonny Perdue hearing

GCC 10th Annual Meeting Videos Available

In this week’s Georgia Cotton Commission update we want to inform you that our Annual Meeting videos are now available on YouTube. We held our 10th Annual Meeting on January 25th in conjunction with the UGA Cotton Production Workshops. Members from the UGA Cotton Team held breakout sessions regarding insect pest management, soil fertility, economics, and various other topics. We also had speakers from Cotton Incorporated, The National Cotton Council, and Cotton Council International as guest speakers at our portion of the meeting. A local broadcast company recorded each of these sessions as well as the lunch awards ceremony and has created a playlist on YouTube. These videos will give producers a good update on the current topics of interest to growers who were not able to attend, or to those who did attend but would like a quick re-fresher on the topics. To access these videos, search “Georgia Cotton Commission 10th Annual Meeting” on YouTube or go to the producer page on our website at GeorgiaCottonCommission.org.

screenshot_YouTube_GCC 10th Annual Meeting

Cotton Market Jump/2017 Chinese Reserve Auction

In this week’s Georgia Cotton Commission update we will update you on the recent events in the cotton market. The last couple of weeks have seen a slow but steady rise in the futures price of cotton. This past week saw a sharp increase with the nearby contract getting close to 80 cents and the December ’17 contract going above 75 cents for the first time. Most analyst point to the March 6th start date of the 2017 Chinese Reserve Auction as causing this price jump. From May through August of 2016 the Chinese government began their first round of daily auctions to sell some of the cotton in their reserves. The 2016 auctions had a daily cap of 138,000 bales with a yearly total of just over 9 million bales. There was a noticeable jump in the market last year throughout the course of the auction. The 2017 auction quantities are expected to be around the same daily amounts with the Chinese government stating they’d like to sell about 30,000 tons per day, which is about 120,000 bales/day. Initial reports indicate that they are selling at that pace. The National Cotton Council has some good YouTube videos explaining the Chinese Reserve Auction program.

Click the links below to hear Dr. Jody Campiche explain the situation.



screenshot_YouTube_NCC Chinese Auctions

STAX Enrollment: 2015 vs 2016

In this week’s Georgia Cotton Commission report we want to give a brief update about crop insurance numbers. This year’s cotton insurance price is set at $0.73 per pound per the formula used by RMA which looks at the futures price of the December cotton contract from mid-January to mid-February. RMA has a neat online Price Discovery Tool that can help growers find the correct insurance price for their various commodities. In 2015, 92% of all cotton acres in Georgia had some type of crop insurance coverage with 40% of all cotton acres enrolled in STAX. In 2016, 96% of all cotton planted in Georgia had some type of crop insurance coverage with STAX coverage on 37% of the planted acres. This increase in the amount of insurance bought in 2016 versus 2015 and a decrease in the amount of STAX acres enrolled in Georgia mirrors national data. All cotton crop insurance nationally in 2015 was 91% and jumped to 93% in 2016 while STAX acres decrease from 31% nationally in 2015 to 25% in 2016. See chart below.

Click here for a chart of all 2015 data from last year’s blog.

  2015 2016
GA All Cotton Insurance 92% 96%
GA STAX 40% 37%
US All Cotton Insurance 91% 93%
US STAX 31% 25%

Complete NASS Surveys/NCC Planting Intentions Report Released

In this week’s Georgia Cotton Commission update we want to remind growers to complete and return your NASS surveys. USDA NASS is currently surveying growers across the country in order to compile the yearly USDA Prospective Plantings report. The data collected by NASS is confidential and extremely important for agriculture as this data is used in many policy making discussions.

The USDA Prospective Plantings report is not the only planting intentions report for cotton. Recently, the National Cotton Council released its annual Planting Intentions report that surveyed cotton growers across America. The NCC Planting Intentions report found that total US cotton acres would be up by 9.4% to 11 million acres. In Georgia, the survey found a 3.1% decrease in acres from 2016. It is important to remember though that this survey was conducted throughout December 2016 and into January 2017, and therefore may not reflect the true amount of acres to be planted given the recent increase in the price of cotton. You can find this report at GeorgiaCottonCommission.org.


Ronnie Lee NCC Chairman, Kent Fountain National Ginner of the Year

We bring great news from the Georgia cotton industry. Ronnie Lee, a cotton farmer from Bronwood, was named as the 2017 Chairman of the National Cotton Council, and Kent Fountain, a ginner from Surrency, was named National Cotton Ginner of the Year. Ronnie Lee and his sons farm in Terrell, Lee, and Sumter Counties and also own and operate McCleskey Cotton Company, RCL Flying Service, LGT LLC, and Adela Logistics. Lee is past president and chairman of Southern Cotton Growers and has served on the board of the National Cotton Council since 2015. Kent Fountain is managing partner of Southeastern Gin and Peanut and is the past president of Southeastern Cotton Ginners Association and the National Cotton Ginners Association. Fountain currently serves as the ginner vice-president on the Board of Directors of the National Cotton Council. The National Cotton Ginner of the Year is named in honor of Horace Hayden, a former National Cotton Ginners Association executive secretary. Visit our website at GeorgiaCottonCommission.org for more updates about cotton leaders from Georgia.