The U.S. upland crop is estimated at approximately 16.5 million bales, nearly 12 percent above the drought-reduced 2011 crop and the second largest crop since 2007. During the previous 20 years, the September upland cotton forecast was below the final estimate 11 times and above it 9 times. Past differences between the September forecast and the final upland estimate indicate that chances are two out of three that the 2012 crop will range between 15.2 and 17.7 million bales.
Compared with last season, 2012 upland cotton production by region is mixed, with the crop rebounding in the Southwest, unchanged in the Southeast, and lower in the Delta and West regions. Based on the September forecast, the upland crop in the Southwest is expected at 6.3 million bales, well above last season’s droughtreduced crop but equal to the 10-year average. For the Southeast, the September forecast placed the crop at 5.1 million bales, one of the highest during the last decade with the regional yield forecast at a record 895 pounds per harvested acre.
In contrast, crops in the Delta and West are expected to decline from a year ago as reduced area more than offset above-average yields. In the Delta, the 2012 cotton crop is forecast at 3.8 million bales, 16 percent below 2011 but similar to 2010. In the West, a record upland yield of 1,554 pounds per harvested acre is forecast to produce a crop of about 1.3 million bales. In addition, the extra-long staple (ELS) crop—largely grown in the West—is forecast at 657,000 bales, nearly 200,000 bales below last season as area was reduced considerably.
Total 2012 U.S. cotton planted and harvested area was estimated lower in September. Based on acreage reported to USDA’s Farm Services Agency (FSA), planted area was placed at 12.4 million acres. Harvested area was forecast at 10.4 million acres by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). As a result, abandonment is projected at 15.5 percent, well below last season’s 36 percent. Meanwhile, the national yield is forecast at 786 pounds per harvested acre, 4 pounds below last season and 28 pounds below the 5-year average. For current production estimates by State, see table 10.
U.S. Textile Trade Deficit Declines in First Half of 2012
Amid the sluggish global economy, total U.S. textile fiber trade was lower during the first half of 2012 compared with a year ago. Total imports during the first 6 months of 2012 reached 7.8 billion (raw-fiber equivalent) pounds, 4 percent below a year earlier.