U.S. cotton farmers are on pace to produce a 17.68 million bale crop this season, according to current estimates from a panel of analysts speaking at the Ag Market Network’s annual Cotton Roundtable in New York City.

Southwest

According to Extension specialist emeritus Carl Anderson, the Texas crop condition is much better than a year ago. “Following three years of drought, timely rains from late May up to mid-July have saved the west Texas 3.5-million-acre dryland crop from another major disaster. The roughly 2 million acres of irrigated cotton is doing exceptionally well.”

Anderson said the west Texas dryland crop “is off to a late start and needs timely rain and warm temperatures until mid-October. Most of the area is short on both topsoil and subsoil moisture. The crop needs sunshine and favorable daytime temperatures.”

According to USDA’s Texas cotton crop condition index, the crop is rated as 8 percent very poor, 15 percent poor, 40 percent fair, 27 percent good and 10 percent excellent. “Fortunately, in July most of the west Texas area is receiving much needed rainfall. In the Coastal Bend area and the Blacklands area of south Texas, where some of the most productive dryland exists, cotton is in above average condition.”

Anderson says cotton harvest is underway in south Texas, with quality expected to be excellent.

“Because of limited subsoil moisture, localized storms, and persistent weed problems, I estimate about 20 percent of the projected 6.45 million acres planted in Texas in 2014-15 will be abandoned.”

Anderson projects a Texas crop potential in the range of 7 million to 8.3 million bales, “depending on weather conditions between now and mid-October. Today, my production estimate for Texas is around 7.6 million bales, compared to 4.2 million last year.”

Anderson said Oklahoma growers planted 240,000 acres of cotton and expect to produce about 300,000 bales. “Their crop is in good condition. In Kansas, growers planted 43,000 acres that are in good condition and may produce some 60,000 bales. Anderson estimated total production for the Southwest at 8 million bales.