South Plains cotton farmers concerned about high input cost for 2023, similar to 2022

In addition to the drought, the cotton commodity prices in 2022 plummeted, putting two stresses on producers.
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 9:56 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2023 at 10:24 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Through last year’s cotton season, some farmers may have been saying ‘If I can just get to the next season.’ Now it looks like it might be another rough year.

The extreme drought took a toll on many producers, making it hard to even grow a crop in 2022. The Texas Farm Bureau District Two State Director, Walt Hagood, explains rain is the most important factor in farming. So, he is hoping for another season like the one from two years ago.

“When we went into the ‘21 crop, you know we were very dry at that time and it wasn’t raining, and all of a sudden it rained just enough to get the crop up and it kind of came late, but we had timely rain throughout the summer and we made a wonderful crop,” Hagood said.

In addition to the drought, the cotton commodity prices in 2022 plummeted, putting two stresses on producers.

In Hagood’s 43 seasons of farming, he’s used to the stress of rain and an unpredictable market, but how much it would cost to grow a crop caught him off guard.

“Now we have another great risk, and that is actually the input cost,” Hagood said. “It just keeps going up, so now a lot of things that we’re purchasing now are twice what they were two years ago.”

Hagood says it looks like producers are plowing into this planting season in the same shape. He says seed is costing between $45 to $95 an acre depending on dry land or irrigated. The fertilizer is costing $45 an acre for 100 pounds. He says these prices are similar to 2022.

“I think a lot of farmers are concerned about something like that happening again, you know if you get a crop up and you start putting all those high inputs into it and then you don’t get enough rain to finish that crop, that’s going to be a real problem in the end,” Hagood said.

Hagood says the input cost from last year paired with not expecting any relief, is turning producers to new expertise or a new crop.

“A lot of people are talking about maybe plating something different and not decided right now as to what they’re going to plant,” Hagood said. “So, they may be holding off on booking their seed.”

Hagood says currently December 2023 futures are showing cotton is sitting around 81 cents a pound. In the long run, he says if there are fewer acres because some farmers decided not to plant cotton, it may help the price go up and benefit those who are putting their boots on for another year.