cotton
(Photo: Vladimir Tretyakov / Shutterstock.com)

By Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice  

California’s cotton industry expects significant expansion in 2024 as a result of two consecutive, good water years and favorable pricing compared to competing commodities. According to a preliminary planting survey by the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association, cotton acreage is poised for a substantial increase of 72% this year 

CCGGA estimated that roughly 143,000 acres of Pima cotton and around 22,000 acres of upland cotton will be planted statewide this season — the current margin of error is 10%. The projection would entail an increase of 70% for Pima acreage and 83% for upland acreage compared to the previous year, but these are preliminary findings and may change pending field surveys by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.  

The survey includes data from all California cotton gins as well as a glimpse into the state’s current cotton planting intentions.  

Meanwhile, researchers at the Jordan College of Agricultural Science and Technology are engaged in projects designed to enhance the cotton industry’s productivity. A research showcase in April highlighted two projects created to identify genetic diversity in Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. vasinfectum — a pathogen that harms cotton plants through vascular discoloration, chlorosis, wilt, and plant death. The projects aim to identify and distinguish various genotypes of fusarium in order to improve upon disease management strategies.  

Along with advancements in research, improved export opportunities in Bangladesh could benefit California cotton growers. For nearly five decades, Bangladesh mandated the fumigation of American cotton due to boll weevil concerns, but recent collaboration between the USDA and Bangladesh Ministry of Agriculture amended these import rules. The exemption of U.S. cotton from the regulation will substantially benefit the local cotton industry as Bangladesh is the fifth-largest export market — valued at over $339 million in 2023. 

Previous articleBureau of Reclamation Updates Water Allotments, Class 2 Friant Division Still at Zero 
Next articleAB 2528: Implications for California’s Prime Agricultural Land