USDA projects smaller cotton, rice crops USDA is forecasting an 18.3 million-bale cotton crop in its Sept. 12 crop production report. That's down 4 percent from last month, but up 8 percent from 1999. Based on Sept. 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 622 pounds per harvested acre, down 26 pounds from last month.

The condition of the cotton crop has deteriorated since last month, especially in the Delta and Southwest regions, where continued drought and extremely high temperatures have resulted in additional stress to the crop. Harvested acreage, at 14.1 million acres, reflects an increase from last month of 30,000 acres in Arkansas and a decrease of 30,000 acres in Louisiana, 60,000 acres in Mississippi, and 5,000 acres in California.

Yields were reduced from last month in every Delta state: Arkansas, from 751 pounds per acre to 728; Louisiana, from 690 to 672; Mississippi, from 738 to 686; Missouri, from 700 to 678; and Tennessee, from 581 to 565. That compares to 1999 yields of 714, 709, 704, 601 and 501 pounds per acre, respectively.

The agency also reduced U.S. cotton exports, and stocks this month. Lower beginning stocks for 2000-01 reflect Bureau of the Census data which indicate higher mill use and lower ending stocks in 1999-2000 than estimated previously. Domestic mill use for 2000-01 was unchanged, but exports were reduced 300,000 bales as a result of the lower supply. Estimated ending stocks were cut 700,000 bales to 4.2 million bales.

This month's 2000-01 projections also feature lower world production and ending stocks. Reductions in the crop estimates for the United States and several countries in West Africa more than offset higher production in Australia and Pakistan.

Consumption and imports were virtually unchanged, and reductions in exports for the United States and West African countries were offset by increases for Australia, Pakistan, and others. A 2-percent reduction in world stocks was attributed to the decrease in the United States. World stocks are projected to fall to 34.4 million bales, the lowest level since 1994-95.

Rice U.S. rice production was forecast at 191.6 million cwt., down 6.6 million cwt. from last month and a decline of 14.4 million cwt. from the revised 1999-2000 crop. The average yield is estimated at a record 6,212 pounds per acre, up 28 pounds per acre from last month's estimate and 346 pounds per acre above the revised 1999-2000 yield. U.S. planted rice area is estimated at 3.11 million acres, down 120,000 acres from last month.

U.S. rice exports for 2000-01 were projected at 80 million cwt., down 8 million cwt. from last month. Tighter supplies and higher prices will make U.S. rice less competitive, particularly for milled rice. Ending stocks in 2000-01 are estimated at 26.7 million cwt., down 12.7 million cwt. from last month and nearly the same as last year's revised estimate. The season-average price projection was raised $0.75 per cwt. on each end to $5.50-$6.50 per cwt.

Global 2000-01 rice production and ending stocks were lowered. Consumption and trade are unchanged. The decrease in global rice production is due primarily to smaller crops projected for the United States, Pakistan, and Spain which are partially offset by increases for Australia and Vietnam.