Researchers: More acres of cotton in Missouri this year

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 ~ Updated 10:31 AM

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Cotton prices, now at "stratospheric" levels, will influence increased Missouri plantings this year, according to expert remarks Monday at the Missouri Agriculture Outlook Conference. Rice and soybeans are among the projected 2011 acreage losers, according to Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute Director Pat Westhoff. In August '07, the world had a half year's worth of cotton supply in storage, he said, noting the easy availability led to downward pressure on prices followed by a cotton acreage pullback. The 50-cent-per-pound futures contract prices of two years ago are now $2 per pound as the world's cotton reserves are now at about 10 percent of estimated annual use. These price signals will accompany an uptick in Missouri cotton plantings to 350,000 acres from 310,000 last year, Westhoff said. He also noted that ample availability of rice is keeping a muted price outlook and the acreage lower for that crop.

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