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US cotton crop projected to rise in 2012 - USDA
15
May '12
According to USDA's first projections for the 2012 crop, U.S. cotton production is forecast at 17.0 million bales, 9 percent above the final 2011 crop estimate.

Based on the Prospective Plantings report, 2012 cotton planted acreage is expected to approach 13.2 million acres—down nearly 11 percent from 2011 but still the second highest planted area since the 2006 crop. The lower planted area is the result of competing crop prices that are higher relative to those for cotton.

Lingering drought conditions throughout much of the cotton growing areas in Texas as well as very dry conditions in the Southeast region have raised concerns as planting of the 2012 crop progresses. As of May 6th, 36 percent of the cotton area had been planted, compared with 24 percent in 2011 and the 5-year average of 28 percent.

Despite planting progress ahead of “normal,” the dry conditions are expected to influence the 2012 cotton crop, although not as significantly as last season when the U.S. abandonment rate approached 36 percent, a historic high.

While weather conditions throughout the growing season will affect final acreage and, more importantly, production, the initial 2012 abandonment is based on the 2009-11 crop average abandonment, weighted by region, and adjusted to reflect the current drought in Texas.

With a U.S. abandonment rate projected at 20 percent, harvested area is estimated at 10.5 million acres for the 2012 season. Meanwhile, the national yield projection of 777 pounds per harvested acre is based on the 2009- 11 crop average yields, weighted by region.

The initial estimate is slightly below the 2011-crop final yield estimate of 790 pounds per harvested acre.

Area for both upland and extra-long staple cotton in 2012 is forecast between the previous two seasons.

For 2012, upland cotton acreage is expected to decline in each of the Cotton Belt regions, a first in five seasons. Based on the Prospective Plantings report, Southwest cotton plantings are forecast at 7.2 million acres; this represents 56 percent of the total upland area, a share that has been relatively stable during the previous 5 years (fig. 2).

Likewise, the Southeast, Delta, and West have remained near recent levels, contributing 24 percent, 17 percent, and 3 percent, respectively.

2012/13 Demand Expected to Expand
U.S. cotton demand in 2012/13 is projected to increase 5 percent to 15.5 million bales, compared with 14.8 million bales estimated for 2011/12. Larger U.S. supplies, lower cotton prices, and growth in the global economy are anticipated to push demand for U.S. cotton higher. Both U.S. exports and mill use are forecast to rise in 2012/13.

U.S. exports account for the bulk of U.S. cotton demand and, at 12.0 million bales, 2012/13 exports are expected to contribute 77 percent of the total. In 2011/12, U.S. exports were limited by a number of factors and represented only 27 percent of world trade, the lowest since 2000/01.


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