Cotton Production Turns Corner, Rise Expected

Southwestern cotton farming will rebound with a nice growth spurt over the next few years, the most recent national analysis suggests. From the early '90s to mid-decade, national cotton production was running full bore, jumping more than 11 percent. That pattern stopped in 2006, said Darren Hudson, lead author of the new analysis and director of Texas Tech's Cotton Economics Research Institute in Lubbock.

"Earlier this decade, many farmers moved from a pure cotton monoculture to rotations that included corn and soybeans, partly because of agronomic reasons but primarily due to price movement," Hudson said.

Reduced cotton acres ultimately meant lower cotton production. Average number of bales processed per gin in the United States dropped from a high of 26,920 bales in 2006 to 17,453 in 2008.

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