By Clint Thompson
Max Runge, Extension specialist in agricultural economics and rural sociology at Auburn University, believes Alabama row crop farmers are feeling the pressure of delivering a profitable season. That, more than anything else, will impact what they produce this year.
“Ideally, we talk about this all the time, stick to your rotations and look for the long-term. A lot of farmers don’t have that option. They’ve got to make it this year,” Runge said. “There’s been tough financial situations in Ag the last few years. They’ve almost got to hit a home run to be able to survive this year.”
It’s hard to imagine a grand slam in cotton with cotton futures set at 56 cents on Friday. Alabama farmers are expected to decrease acres for this upcoming season. This will impact other row crops as well.
“I think cotton prices may bounce up a little bit. I don’t think it’ll certainly be what it was in January when we were close to 70 cents,” Runge said. “The question comes, does some of those acres stay like they were or do we swap them. I think we may see a little increase in soybean acres, a few less cotton acres and peanuts probably steady to up just a little bit.”
According to USDA NASS, prospective acres of cotton are down 2% at 530,000 acres. Peanuts are estimated at 165,000 acres, up 3% from 2019. And, soybeans are projected at 260,000 acres, a 2% decrease from last year.
The current financial crunch did not squelch corn producers’ intentions. Corn is up 16% with an estimated acreage of 370,000 acres.
“As far as corn’s concerned, for the most part, I think that was pretty much already set in stone. We already started planting at the end of February and early March in South Alabama and moving forward. Even the guys in North Alabama probably had their seed ready,” Runge said.