Buddy Cochran rues the loss of cotton acres to other crops in Mississippi’s Washington County. Still, Cochran – who runs Avon Gin in Avon, Miss. – says “the acres we have are really good. I’m hearing about a lot of two-bale-plus yields. One of my customers said he was crowding three bales.

“The other day, somebody asked me how I was doing. I said ‘I’m picking, ginning and grinning.’ 

Cochran says the county’s cotton acreage picture may change, “if the (current) price holds. As a matter of fact, I just had a farmer call wanting to know if he could gin with me next year. He said everybody and their brother will be planting cotton. He wanted to make sure he had a place to gin.”

Across the river in southeast Arkansas “we have a beautiful crop,” says Kevin Watts, ginner at McGehee Producers Gin, in McGehee, Ark. “Lots of folks are picking 1,500 pounds, or better. This is the best crop we’ve had in at least four years. This season was just ‘cotton weather’ – dry all summer and hot. This is probably the prettiest cotton I’ve ever ginned.

“One producer picked 1,787 pounds on 75 acres. He made 299 bales. That’s awesome.”

All this is good news for the gins, says Watts. “I thought we’d gin around 45,000 bales. At this point, though, it looks like we’ll hit 60,000 bales.

“We started ginning the earliest I ever have, on Sept. 2. Right now, we’ve done around 19,000 bales and are running wide open.”

Wayne Couch, ginner at Rhm Gin in Marked Tree, Ark., says the area’s crop “is good and ginning well. Yields are anywhere from 1,000/1,200 pounds to, I‘ve heard, 1,500 pounds. That’s great news because the acreage around here was down.”

With current prices, “next year could be big for cotton.” If farmers follow through on proposed acreage shifts “maybe we can look forward to a full yard and full warehouses in 2011.”