While drought conditions continue across much of the Southwest’s cotton-growing area, wet conditions across parts of the Delta and Southeast have led to planting delays this spring. As of May 4th, only 16 percent of the U.S. cotton area had been planted, compared with a 5-year average of 25 percent.
Texas has planted 16 percent of its crop, compared with an average of 22 percent. For the Southeastern States, plantings have ranged from 0-23 percent complete, compared with the 5-year average of 18-27 percent; most States are also below last season’s progress. For the Delta States, plantings are above 2013 but remain below the 5-year average.
Weather conditions will continue to influence cotton plantings and, more importantly, production. The initial 2014 abandonment is based on the 2012-13 crop average abandonment, weighted by region; the Southwest abandonment is projected near 40 percent.
Overall, the U.S. abandonment rate is projected at 24 percent, slightly below last season’s final estimate. Harvested area is projected at 8.45 million acres, 12 percent above 2013/14. The national yield projection of 824 pounds per harvested acre is based on the 2012-13 crop average yields, weighted by region. The initial estimate is near the final 2013 estimate of 821 pounds.
While area for upland cotton is forecast to rise in 2014, extra-long staple (ELS) acreage is expected to decline. For the upcoming season, upland cotton acreage is forecast to expand in the Southwest and Delta while decreasing slightly in the Southeast and West. Based on Prospective Plantings, the Southwest upland area is forecast at nearly 6.7 million acres, up from the previous season but below both 2011 and 2012 (fig. 2); the Southwest is forecast to account for nearly 61 percent of the upland area in 2014, the highest since at least 1920.
Although the Delta is expected to plant 17 percent more in 2014, area (at 1.4 million acres) remains one of the lowest on record; the region is expected to account for 13 percent of the U.S. upland acreage in 2014. In contrast, area in the Southeast (at 2.6 million acres) is similar to 2013 and the previous 10-year average.
The Southeast is forecast to contribute 24 percent of the upcoming season’s cotton area. In the West, where irrigation concerns have reduced upland area, only 245,000 acres are projected to be grown in 2014 (or 2 percent of the total). ELS cotton is largely grown in the West, where more than 90 percent of the 158,000-acre total is planted.
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