“It’s good for everyone - the farmer, the ginner, and the overall economy because farmers will have money to buy newer equipment,” Gladden said. “It will have a trickle-down effect for the whole economy.”

Farmer Dan Thelander of the Tempe Farming Company, Tempe, Ariz., farms about 2,500 acres south of Maricopa in upland cotton, barley, alfalfa, wheat, and guayule. Another 1,500 acres is leased to a cantaloupe grower.

Thelander planted 600 acres in cotton two years ago, 1,100 acres last year, and 1,600 acres this spring.

“We took out some alfalfa earlier than usual to try to capitalize on cotton prices,” Thelander said. “We’re going to double crop cotton behind barley which we haven’t done for many years. With these prices, we are trying it again.”

Thelander planted the Deltapine varieties DP 1044 B2RF and DP 0935 B2RF.

On higher cotton prices, Thelander said, “It’s definitely exciting but it also adds a little more stress. I hope we are at a new plateau where prices don’t fall way down since our cotton production costs are north of 75 cents per pound. With the concern over possible cuts in the government cotton program, I hope prices remain good.”

Thelander’s crop typically yields 3.25 bales of cotton per acre. About half of the total acreage is in subsurface drip. Cotton under drip requires about 4.5 acre feet of water per crop compared to traditional irrigation at 5 to 5.5 acre feet.

Greg Sugaski, general manager of Olam operations in Arizona, says most Arizona gins operate a 100-day season.

Ginner Dwayne Alford concluded, “It is exciting – there is a buzz. It’s amazing what $1 cotton will do. We live another day.”

The cotton growers and ginners shared their ideas during the joint annual meetings of the Arizona Cotton Ginners Association and the Arizona Cotton Growers Association in Carefree, Ariz. in April.

cblake@farmpress.com