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USDA estimates 19% dip in 2013 US cotton crop
May '13
According to USDA’s first projection for the 2013 crop, U.S. cotton production is forecast at 14.0 million bales, 19 percent below the final 2012 crop estimate. Based on the Prospective Plantings report, 2013 cotton area is expected to be 10.0 million acres—also down 19 percent from 2012 and the lowest in four seasons.

The lower planted area is the result of higher competing crop prices relative to cotton. While drought conditions continue across much of the cotton-growing area of Texas, wet conditions have been prevalent in the Delta States—these conditions have led to delays in 2013 crop planting.

As of May 12th, only 23 percent of the U.S. cotton area had been planted, compared with 46 percent in 2012 and a 5-year average of 38 percent. Texas has planted only 20 percent of its crop, comparedwith an average of 31 percent. For the Delta States, plantings have ranged from 3-29 percent complete, compared with the 5-year average of 21-81 percent.

Weather conditions during the next month and throughout the growing season will affect acreage, and more importantly, cotton production. The initial 2013 abandonment is based on the 2010-12 crop average abandonment, weighted by region; the Southwest abandonment is projected at 25 percent, reflecting the current drought conditions.

Overall, the U.S. abandonment rate is projected at 16 percent, which is a harvested area projection of 8.4 million acres for the 2013 season—the lowest in four years. The national yield projection of 800 pounds per harvested acre is based on the 2010-12 crop average yields, weighted by region.

The initial estimate is well below the record yield of 887 pounds per harvested acre in 2012, but similar to both the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

Area for both upland and extra-long staple cotton is forecast to decline in 2013. For the upcoming season, upland cotton acreage is expected to decline in each Cotton Belt region for the second consecutive year.

Based on the Prospective Plantings report, the Southwest’s cotton planted area is forecast at 5.7 million acres, down considerably from the previous 2 years (fig. 2). However, the region represents 58 percent of the total upland area, one of the highest in more than 3 decades.

This share has also expanded in the Southeast, where 26 percent of the 2013 crop is expected to be planted (2.6 million acres). In the Delta, cotton area is only expected to reach 1.3 million acres, with a share of 13 percent—both record lows. The West accounts for only 3 percent of the U.S. upland acreage in 2013, and continues to see cotton area move into alternative crops.

United States Department of Agriculture

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