On the heels of a lower estimate of planted area reported last month, USDA reduced its estimate of the size of the U.S. cotton crop to 17.5 million bales — a drop of 1.3 million bales — in its July 12 crop production report.

U.S. cotton acres are estimated at 11.1 million acres, the lowest since 1989. Harvested cotton acres for 2007-08 are projected at 10.5 million acres, reflecting an abandonment rate of about 5 percent, which is lower from last month due to reduced planted acres in Texas.

World 2007-08 projections show sharply lower production occurring mainly in major exporting countries offset by a statistical adjustment in China’s production. Production was reduced in the United States, the African Franc Zone, Australia, and Turkey, but raised in Egypt.

World cotton consumption was reduced slightly, due mainly to lower consumption in Pakistan. A slight reduction in world trade is attributable mainly to lower imports by China and lower exports by the United States. World stocks are projected about 1 percent below last month.

Due to a 2.5-million-acre increase in harvested area, USDA raised its estimate of corn production 380 million bushels from last month. Exports for 2007-08 were raised 25 million bushels due to larger domestic supplies, lower prices, and reduced foreign exports. Ending stocks were raised to 1.5 billion bushels, up 505 million from last month.

Chinese corn production was raised 2 million tons to 148 million tons as higher area and improved yield prospects are expected to boost output.

U.S. rice production in 2007-08 is projected at 190 million hundredweight, nearly 4 percent above last month’s estimate, but 2 percent below 2006-07. Estimated harvested area of 2.726 million acres reported in the June 29 acreage report is about 4 percent higher than last month, but 3 percent below 2006-07.

Yield for 2007-08 is projected at 6,970 pounds per acre, nearly the same as last month, but 102 pounds per acre above 2006-07. Long-grain rice production is projected at 139.5 million hundredweight, 4 percent above last month, but 5 percent below 2006-07. Combined medium- and short-grain rice production is projected at 50.5 million hundredweight, 3 percent above last month, and 6 percent higher than 2006-07.

Rice exports for 2007-08 are projected at 102 million hundredweight, up 6 million hundredweight from last month. The entire increase is in the long-grain rice class and in the milled rice export category.

Rice ending stocks are projected at 26.7 million hundredweight, 4 percent above last month, but 36 percent below 2006-07.

Soybean production is projected at 2.625 billion bushels, down 120 million bushels due to projections for lower harvested acres. Lower production and reduced carry-in leave 2007-08 soybean stocks at 245 million bushels, down 75 million from last month. Soybean exports were raised 10 million bushels to 1.090 billion bushels.

e-mail: erobinson@farmpress.com