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US cotton output unchanged, despite hike in acreage
Jul '13
The U.S. cotton crop forecast for 2013 remains at 13.5 million bales this month and is projected 3.8 million bales below 2012.

Despite an increase in planted area based on the June Acreage report, the crop was left unchanged as area abandonment was adjusted based on current conditions.

Drought conditions have continued in the Southwest region this season, while rainfall has alleviated dry conditions across most of the remaining Cotton Belt in 2013. Abandonment and yield projections are based on 2010-12 averages, weighted by region. However, harvested area in the Southwest is further adjusted to include an estimated abandonment of 40 percent for the region.

Based on the June Acreage report, U.S. producers indicated that they had planted or intended to plant 10.25 million acres to cotton in 2013, 2 percent above the March Prospective Plantings report but 17 percent below 2012.

Harvested area is also projected below last season as the persistent drought in the Southwest continues for a third consecutive season. Nationally, U.S. abandonment for 2013 is projected at 24 percent (2.45 million acres). The expected 2013 abandonment is similar to last season’s 24 percent (2.9 million acres) but well below 2011’s record of 36 percent (5.3 million acres).

Upland cotton area projections are reduced for each region of the Cotton Belt for 2013, ranging from 8 percent to 36 percent lower, as relatively higher alternative crop prices reduced the incentive to plant cotton. Area in the Southwest was reported at nearly 5.9 million acres (15 percent lower); this region is expected to once again have an above-average abandonment in 2013.

In the Southeast and Delta regions, area is estimated at 2.5 million acres (8 percent lower) and 1.3 million acres (36 percent lower), respectively. Upland cotton area in the West is estimated to decline 17 percent from 2012 to 320,000 acres. In addition, extra-long staple acreage—most of which is in the West—is forecast to reach 226,000 acres, about 5 percent below 2012.

U.S. cotton crop development in 2013 continues to lag behind both last season and the 5-year average. As of July 7th, 51 percent of the crop was squaring, compared with 67 percent a year earlier and the 2008-12 average of 63 percent. Similarly, area setting bolls had reached only 10 percent as of early July, compared with 21 percent in 2012 and the 5-year average of 18 percent. Meanwhile, early season U.S. cotton crop conditions are similar to both last season and the 5-year average.

As of July 7th, 44 percent of the U.S. cotton area was rated “good” or “excellent,” equal to a year earlier, while 24 percent was rated “poor” or “very poor,” compared with 28 percent in 2012.

The U.S. yield is currently forecast at 831 pounds per harvested acre, 6 percent below last season’s record of 887 pounds per harvested acre but above the 2008-11 average of 798 pounds. In August, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will publish its first survey-based results for cotton production in 2013.

United States Department of Agriculture

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