By admin       2018-07-19

U.S. cotton production in 2018 is projected at 18.5 million bales, 5 percent (1 million bales) below the June projection and approximately 11.5 percent lower than the 2017 crop. The July production decrease was largely attributable to higher anticipated abandonment in the Southwest—despite expectations of additional cotton acreage—due to the limited rainfall received there through June.Based on USDA’s Acreage report released June 29, U.S. producers had planted or intended to plant 13.5 million acres to cotton in 2018, slightly above the March indications and 7 percent above 2017.Upland cotton area projections for 2018 increased for two regions of the Cotton Belt and decreased for two regions, compared with 2017. Area in the Southwest is reported at 8.2 million acres, 9 percent higher than 2017 and the highest since 1980; in addition, the Southwest upland plantings are forecast to account for a record 62 percent of the total U.S. area, increasing the region’s significance for U.S. cotton production.In the Southeast, 2018 cotton acreage is estimated at 2.8 million acres, 300,000 acres above 2017 and the highest since 2011. The Southeast is expected to account for 21 percent of the U.S. area in 2018, one of the lowest shares of the decade for the region.For the Delta, 2018 cotton area is forecast at 1.9 million acres, slightly below last season, but still one of the highest over the last 6 years; the Delta is expected to contribute 14 percent of the U.S. upland area in 2018. Similarly, upland cotton area in the West is estimated at 280,000 acres (2 percent of the total), below 2017 but above the 5-year average.In addition, extra-long staple (ELS) cotton area for 2018 is forecast at 243,000 acres, 4 percent below 2017 but still one of the highest levels during the last 10 years.Total cotton harvested acreage is estimated in July at 10.5 million acres, 5 percent below 2017. U.S. abandonment—forecast at 22 percent in 2018—is expected to be the highest in 5 years.The abandonment forecast is based on 10-year averages by region, with the Southwest estimate adjusted upward to 35 percent to reflect the crop conditions and limited moisture to date; four previous seasons with a similar situation resulted in Southwest abandonment ranging between 30 percent and 45 percent.The U.S. yield—projected at 845 pounds per harvested acre—is based on 5-year average yields by region; the U.S. yield reached a record 905 pounds per harvested acre in 2017. In August, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will publish its first survey-based results for 2018 cotton production.U.S. cotton crop development as of July 8 indicated that 59 percent of the 2018 cotton crop was squaring, equal to last season but above the 2013-17 average of 55 percent. In addition, cotton area setting bolls had reached 21 percent which was above last season’s 18 percent and the 5-year average of 15 percent.However, the U.S. crop conditions through early July have remained well below the previous two seasons. As of July 8, only 41 percent of the U.S. cotton area was rated “good” or “excellent,” compared with 61 percent a year earlier, while 27 percent was rated “poor” or “very poor,” compared with 12 percent in 2017.

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