There are water concerns in California like there have been in recent years. However, it is not the lack of water, but possibly too much. Neeper said California will likely hit 440,000 acres next season. Neeper noted that the state water project had already assured growers they’d get 50 percent of contracted water before a series of December storms dumped record rainfall and snow fall on the state. Last year at the same time they were promised only 5 percent. Neeper told his audience that the San Luis Reservoir in the Central Valley is expected to be full by the end of February. It is the major storage reservoir for both the federal and state water projects.

Releases are being made from most all the dams in the state to make room for a heavy spring run-off. Already fields are being flooded in the Tulare Lake Basis to manage the excess water.

The snowpack is 200 percent of normal, so far.

“Tomato prices are not expected to be as good as a year ago, and growers are splitting tomato beds (from 60 inches for tomatoes to 30 inches for cotton) to put cotton in,” he added.

Most of California’s 2011 acreage is expected to be long staple Pima cotton. “Growers are already holding out for $3 per pound.” Spot quotes now are $2.35 per pound for Pima.

World consumption follows production and that means a worldwide increase in cotton use. “4 percent plus or minus seems to catch most estimates,” said Neeper.

Neeper is predicting a 48-million bale consumption in China; 22.5 million bales in India; 11.2 million bales in Pakistan and 3.9 million bales in the U.S., all increases over last year. These nations use about 70 percent of the world’s cotton.