It Ain't Over Yet...
There is likely 7,000 to 10,000 acres of cotton remaining in the field along with beans and spots of corn and peanuts that we cannot find a long enough dry spell to get at this point in time. Nevertheless, time waits for no man. While about half of us still have some work to do to finish up with 2020, all of us have to start looking at what 2021 might look like for our farming operations. One huge difference for last year is found in the commodity markets. The price of everything we plant is higher than last year. So maybe 2021 will be the year we have been expecting for a while where all the commodities compete for acres. Keep in mind that 2020 was setting up for acreage competition last January, only we know how that played out. It was amazing how the defensive programs and safety nets kicked in when everything that could go wrong seemed to go wrong and yet, we are here. We really are not expecting the POP, PPP, PLC , CFAP, and MFP to come into play not to mention crop insurance, but there is no doubt these safety nets make a huge difference for us.
That brings me to cotton, and I see a lot of blogs, newsletters, report cards, production strategies, and enterprise analysis to be coming out in the next 3 months.
Cotton was one of the best enterprises for 2020 mainly because of the defensive or safety net payments. It will be interesting how our region responds in acreage when the rest of the country is cutting back on acres. If the demand trend continues to increase, then greener pastures are in front of us.
The first job is to tackle variety ideas. I think the idea that is weighing on my mind is how much we hope to avoid farming conditions that resembles 2020, yet we are going to be tempted to plant about 2 or 3 varieties that have only been tested in 2020 and performed outstanding. We have always considered planting a variety with only one year or less of data to be quite risky. and perhaps this year, it would be even riskier than ever because the growing conditions from 2020 were extreme, rare and not likely to repeat. As usually, the bulk of our acreage should come from the 2 and 3 year champions. Keep one year varieties on low acreage.
The 2021 report card will help sort through this risk in more detail along with identifying the most reliable options for large acreages.