Pima varieties remain the most popular among growers at nearly 146,000 acres statewide, compared to 25,645 acres of Upland. Still, this is down 28 percent from the previous year, according to the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association. Overall cotton acreage is also down 28 percent to just over 187,000 acres.

Kings County remains the most popular location to grow cotton in the state, with nearly 87,000 total acres. Of this, just over 77,000 is in extra-long staple varieties.

ELS cotton has long been a popular type for California growers as the weather favors the longer-season varieties and soil conditions on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley can push Pima yields nearly as high as those of Upland varieties. Growers who can achieve such yields tend to do better under pricing that can favor the ELS varieties.

The soil types and climate conditions that tend to favor Pima production include Kern at 9,215 acres this year, Kings at 77,170 acres, Fresno at 31,905 and Merced at 26,305 acres.

Most of California’s cotton production remains in the San Joaquin Valley. Just over 171,000 acres of cotton is grown there this year. The Sacramento Valley has just over 3,000 acres of Upland varieties while the low deserts of Riverside and Imperial counties have just under 13,000 acres of Upland cotton this season.

Cotton harvest in the low desert regions of the state will begin soon as growers there prepare to plant winter vegetable crops as the seasonal transition of produce moves south from the Salinas Valley.

Source: Todd Fitchette, Western Farm Press