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Web Exclusive | December 2017

Texas awaits bumper cotton crop

Cotton crop in Texas this season will be exceptional in terms of yield. Over 50 people representing different regions of Texas and the entire spectrum of the cotton industry that included producers, agricultural lenders, policy personnel and researchers recently gathered in the conference room of the Plains Cotton Growers (PCG), Inc. office in Lubbock, TX. Probably, this meeting had the highest attendance this season, which shows the importance of cotton in the High Plains of Texas.

Quality of this season’s cotton was in the minds of all those who attended the gathering. A cotton producer said “I am still harvesting, but the quality?” Maturity has been affected by cold weather during the end of September and early October, in High Plains.

Coming to the yield, there is going to be a lot of cotton from Texas. High Plains of Texas will have over five million bales of cotton. Texas is going to have a large crop, while we are experiencing some low micronaire issue in High Plains, other qualities are outstanding, stated, Steve Verett, Executive Vice President of PCG.

Producers are pleased with exceptional crop yield per acre. In High Plains, although good crop is expected, there has been good variability in the yield with some regions not performing well while others have exceeded normal expected production resulting in overall good crop. John Spence, producer from El Paso reported that his area is witnessing yields of 1,300 pounds/acre for Upland cotton and 900 pounds/acre. Toby Robertson of Robstown, TX who has a family farm of 10,000 acres stated that this year the crop has been exceptional with 1,505 pounds/acre in his operations. Normal yields in his area are about 800-1,000 pounds/acre, this year, it has been about 1,500 pounds. Similar experience was shared by Jeff Nunley, Executive Director of South Texas Cotton and Grain Association, who stated that this year, his region will have about 1.8 million bales as against last year’s production of one million bales.

Mood in terms of market was very optimistic, as the demand is strong. While cotton is being harvested, cotton is at 73 cents, which is a good signal of cotton’s demand world over. Mills in Pakistan and Turkey are buying US cotton and more recently, the demand is huge from Pakistan, said a cotton trader. Overall picture is yields are good and the market is showcasing good price points. Prices never rise during harvest season, but this past two weeks or so, price is on the rise, which is a positive news for the industry said Shawn Wade, Director of Policy Analysis and Research at PCG.

With India’s crop downsized recently and the growing demand for cotton, United States cotton industry is looking forward to the new year with full optimism.

By: Seshadri Ramkumar, Texas Tech University, USA

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