GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Cotton is making a comeback in north Florida.

The reason? The Gainesville Sun (http://bit.ly/1b0uViT) reports that farmers are taking advantage of high prices and better baling methods that make the cost of freight to cotton gins in south Georgia more feasible.

Shaw and Shaw Farms of Alachua planted 1,500 acres of cotton last year. County-wide the total was 2,529 acres. That's up from 69 acres countywide in 2011 and 608 in 2012.

But the comeback may be short-lived if the prices trend downward.

According to the IntercontinentalExchange, cotton prices on the international market rose from an average of 78 cents per pound in 2009 to $1.64 in 2010. It dipped to $1 in 2011.

Shaw and Shaw Farms co-owner Buckley Shaw said the higher prices, along with a drop in peanut prices, made cotton a more attractive crop in 2013. It was the first time in 10 years the farm had cut down on the peanut crop to grow cotton.

According to Shaw, the company can make money at about 90 cents a pound and break even at 80 cents.

With prices heading down, however, he said "it's close to where we won't be growing it (this) year."

The farm was still baling cotton last week, which is late in the season because of rain. They rented a new cotton combine that packs the cotton into tighter and smaller bales, which allows them to put more onto a flatbed trailer to ship it to BCT Gin Co. in Quitman Ga.

The milled ginned about 2,000 from Florida in 2012 and 8,000 in 2013, manager Steve Bullard told the Sun.

Across Florida, cotton acreage increased from 105,000 in 2012 to nearly 130,000 last year. Most of the state's cotton farms are in the Panhandle.

Florida's cotton acreage was less than a tenth of Georgia's 1.37 million acres.

In the 1800s, cotton was a major cash crop in Florida. It gradually fell out of favor due to high labor costs and a boll weevil infestation.