Soggy Soils Complicate Acreage Choices

February 28, 2010 06:00 PM

Linda H. Smith, AgWeb Business and Marketing Editor
Soil moisture is always a factor in what is planted, says John Robinson, Extension economist at Texas A&M University. "When it is dry, cotton may be the crop of choice because it is more drought tolerant ¯ and crop insurance favors it.” This year, its effects are different.
Last fall's soaking rains meant that some farmers in the south got cotton out but it was poor quality. In some cases, soybeans never got harvested. "That is leaving a lingering effect in farmers' minds. It should discourage soybeans more,” says Robinson.
The soil profile is full more moisture is till being added. "The drought monitor shows there is almost none in the country,” says Robinson.
The Memphis price ratio for corn, soybeans and cotton suggests we could see more cotton planted, he notes. "But that may be affected by machinery investments. If producers bought corn/soybean equipment in the past four years, they may not swing back to cotton.”
With a 900-lb. yield, it would take 79¢ cash to breakeven with corn and soybeans; at 1,200 lb., only a 60¢ price is needed, Robinson estimates.
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