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Cotton production forecast up slightly in August
Aug '10
According to USDA's first survey-based forecast, the 2010 U.S. cotton crop is projected at 18.5 million bales, 234,000 bales above July's estimate and 6.3 million bales above last season's output. The 2010 production increase is attributable to both increased area and a higher national yield compared with 2009.

Based on the August forecast, total cotton planted acreage in 2010 is estimated at 10.9 million acres, the same as reported in the June Acreage report. Harvested area is projected at 10.6 million acres, 3.1 million above last season and the highest since the 2006 crop. Consequently, the national abandonment rate is near historic lows.

Based on the August forecast, the U.S. cotton abandonment rate is projected at only 2.5 percent, well below last season's rate of nearly 18 percent and the lowest since the 1947 season when abandonment reached only 2.1 percent. Meanwhile, the U.S. yield is forecast at 837 pounds per harvested acre—60 pounds above last season and the third highest on record—as favorable conditions have been prevalent this season for much of the Cotton Belt. See table 11 for cotton production estimates by State.

Upland production is projected at 18.0 million bales, 53 percent above the 2009 crop. During the previous 20 years, the August upland cotton production forecast was below the final estimate 10 times and above it 10 times. Past differences between the August forecast and the final upland production estimate indicate that chances are two out of three for the 2010 crop to range between 16.4 and 19.7 million bales.

Compared with last season, upland production is expected to increase in each of the Cotton Belt regions but the degree of expansion varies considerably. In the Southwest—where over 50 percent of the U.S. upland crop is expected to be produced this season—output is projected to rise 4.2 million bales to 9.2 million, the largest regional crop on record.

Above-average growing conditions have helped keep abandonment at historically low levels, while the region's yield projection is the second largest on record—behind only the 2007 crop. The Southwest abandoned acreage is projected at only 214,000 acres (3.6 percent) this season, equal to that in 2007. The 2010 yield is forecast at 769 pounds per harvested acre, compared with 840 pounds per acre 3 years ago.

The Southeast crop is projected at 4.1 million bales, the largest in 4 years as area there has rebounded to 2.5 million acres—the highest since the 2006 season. However, the Southeast yield is expected to fall considerably from 2009's record of 884 pounds per harvested acre to this season's projected 795 pounds per acre, similar to the 5-year average.

Similarly, the Delta's cotton area and crop forecast is projected at its highest since the 2007 season. In 2010, the Delta is expected to produce 3.7 million bales from approximately 1.9 million acres. The Delta yield is also forecast to rise considerably from last season's relatively low level to 956 pounds per harvested acre, second only to 1994's record of 1,009 pounds per acre.

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