Total U.S. cotton production for 2009 is forecast at 12.6 million bales, according to USDA, up 1 percent from last month but down 2 percent from last year. Upland cotton production is forecast at 12.2 million bales, up 1 percent from last month but down 1 percent from last year.

According to USDA’s Dec. 10 Crop Production Report, producers in the Southeast are expecting increased yields due to ideal weather conditions for this year’s late-planted crop. Texas producers are also expecting higher yields.

Upland growers in California, Georgia, Kansas, North Carolina and Oklahoma are expecting record high yields.

The story is quite different in the Mid-South, where expected cotton yields continue to decline from the previous year in four states, as damage from late season rain is starting to come into focus.

Forecast Arkansas yields declined 186 pounds from 2008, to 826 pounds; Mississippi yields dropped 153 pounds from last year, to 758 pounds; Missouri yields fell 157 pounds to 949 pounds per acre; and Tennessee yields dropped from 909 pounds per acre to 891 pounds.

Forecast yield for Louisiana rose from 576 pounds in 2008 to a forecast 704 pounds for 2009, but only because the 2008 crop was hit by wind and rain from late-season hurricanes. Further declines in Mid-South yields are likely.

e-mail: erobinson@farmpress.com