Oklahoma is increasingly becoming a national player in cotton production and is projected to climb into fourth place in acres harvested for 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Mississippi is third in forecast acreage and is expected to harvest 95,000 more acres than Oklahoma, down from 140,000 more acres the year before, according to the USDA, but Oklahoma is narrowing the gap, said Harvey Schroeder, executive director of the Oklahoma Cotton Council, which is based in Frederick in southwest Oklahoma.
Troy Marshall, Oklahoma state statistician for U.S. Department of Agriculture said that the gap in forecast acreage planted in cotton for this year may be too much for Oklahoma to overcome to end up being ranked third in the nation.
Marshall stated a better understanding where Oklahomaâ€™s cotton crop is ranked nationally will be seen in October as the harvest takes place. Still, it is pretty impressive how much Oklahoma has climbed over the last few years in cotton production.
Cotton yields are forecast to be down somewhat from last yearâ€™s bumper crop, according to Marshall. Last year cotton was 1,021 pounds per acre, while the forecast this year sees 786 pounds per acre.
Marshall said that his department is forecasting a 17 percent increase in cotton production for Oklahoma due to more acreage being placed in cotton. A lot of people are going into cotton who have never been before.
As of Aug. 1, Oklahoma has 450,000 acres in production, an increase of 55 percent. Last year the state finished the season with 290,000 acres in cotton.
While, the Oklahoma Cotton Board believes the state could go as high as third place. Last year the state was sixth nationally in acres harvested.
Texas leads the nation with a forecast of 5.7 million acres, with Georgia second at 1.3 million acres. The USDA considers 17 states cotton producers. In 2003, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Oklahoma was ranked 13th nationally in cotton production.
Oklahoma cotton production in the late 1990s and early 2000s hovered at 530 pounds acre. However, advances in technology and methods of fighting the boll weevil have improved yield dramatically.
According to farmer Mark Nichols who looks over the 6,000 acres of cotton to harvest. Itâ€™s a pretty good crop and thereâ€™s a number of reasons for that, but the main reason is better genetics in the cotton they are growing now days.
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