Cotton market currently unstable

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 9, 2009

NATCHEZ — It’s hard to gauge how much is going to be planted in Adams County this year.

“The main crops are going to be soybeans, corn and cotton, but in terms of acreage there is a big question mark there,” Adams County Extension Service Director David Carter said.

The biggest questions are connected with cotton.

Email newsletter signup

“The market for cotton is pretty unstable right now,” Carter said.

Farmers will reconsider planting cotton over other crops because — coupled with the unstable markets — its input costs are higher.

“Once you plant cotton, you have to got to put out a lot more nitrogen fertilizer and potash potassium,” Carter said.

“Insects and other pests are also worse with cotton.”

While fertilizer costs and herbicide and pesticide costs have gone down, they are still expensive, and Carter said he believes farmers will be tempted to plant lower-maintenance crops like soybeans.

“Soybeans actually put nitrogen back into the soil, so they don’t have to use a lot of fertilizer,” Carter said.

While there will be a significant amount of corn planted in the county, the commodity futures for corn have changed from the dramatic highs of recent years.

“Corn prices aren’t nearly as high as last year, and that is going to bring the acreage of corn down (in Adams County),” Carter said.

There will also be some sweet potato and peanut planting in the county, but it will not be a huge presence, Carter said.

It’s all just up in the air, Carter said.

“I couldn’t say how much is going to be planted right now, and I don’t think our farmers could say how much right now, either,” he said.