December 2011cotton futures were trading 400 points higher at $1.29 on Thursday in the wake of USDA’s Prospective Plantings report.

“Traders were shocked at how few acres higher prices had bought,” said Scott Stiles, Extension economist-risk management for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

The average pre-report estimate for 2011 U.S. planted acreage was 13.22 million, compared to 10.973 million acres in 2010.

“This morning’s USDA report indicated planted acreage would be 12.565 million acres. This number is very close to the National Cotton Council’s 2011 acreage survey result of 12.514 million, released in early February,” Stiles said.

Arkansas cotton acreage is expected to be up 16 percent or 85,000 to total of 630,000. This is similar to the 2008 acreage total of 620,000.

“Arkansas will be the fourth largest cotton producing state by acreage after Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina. Every cotton-producing state in the U.S. will increase acreage in 2011. Nationwide, total cotton acreage is expected to be up 15 percent.”

Thursday’sacreage estimate could increase U.S. cotton ending stocks -- depending on final yields -- but only modestly; perhaps just 400,000 bales, Stiles said. “This would bring stocks up from 1.9 to 2.3 million bales. New crop cotton futures are bidding for more acres Thursday.”

For more information about crop production visit www.uaex.edu or contact your county Extension office.