LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The longer high soybean prices are on the board, the more Bill Robertson believes Arkansas’ cotton acreage will stay close to what was intended last year.

“Because of the wet spring and so much cotton lost to replant, we were shy of a million acres,” says the Arkansas Extension cotton specialist. “Without those problems, we’d have been right on the million acre mark – what I suspect we’ll be at this year.”

And Robertson “keeps hearing” the same thing all over the state. “Producers are talking about taking their cotton acres and planting beans for just one year. It’s certainly tempting. If bean prices hold, and if we run into any problems during planting season, it’ll be really easy for cotton producers to switch to beans.”

Robertson related a conversation with an Extension agent in Crittenden County. “He was talking about a hard-core cotton producer who normally plants between 2,000 and 3,000 acres of cotton. This year, that producer is looking at soybeans simply because the price keeps looking so good.”

Robertson was also involved in the recent hire of Frank Groves, the state’s new cotton verification coordinator.

“He’s out of the Arkansas system and will take over Don Plunkett’s old job. We’ve already got producers in the program, so Frank should hit the ground running. He’s going to do a great job for our producers.”

e-mail: dbennett@primediabusiness.com