US cotton production projected to decline in 2018
US cotton production is forecast at 19.5 million bales, nearly 7 per cent below the final 2017 estimate, according to the US department of agriculture’s (USDA’s) initial projection for the 2018 crop. However, based on the ‘Prospective Plantings’ report, 2018 cotton area is estimated at 13.47 million acres, nearly 900,000 acres above 2017.
The larger 2018 planted acreage expectation is mainly due to relative prices that favour cotton and the successful yields experienced in 2017 that reached a national record, the Economic Research Service of USDA said in its latest ‘Cotton and Wool Outlook’ report. Planted area for both upland and extra-long staple (ELS) cotton is expected to increase in 2018. For the upcoming season, upland acreage is projected higher in two of the Cotton Belt regions and nearly identical in the other two regions. Based on Prospective Plantings, the Southwest upland area is estimated at 8.1 million acres, above 2017’s 7.6 million acres and the highest since an identical amount was planted in 1981. The Southwest is forecast to account for 61 per cent of the total upland area in 2018, similar to last season. Cotton acreage in the Southeast is forecast at 2.8 million acres in 2018, nearly 13 per cent above 2017 and the highest since 2011 when the region planted 3.4 million acres to cotton; however, the region is forecast to only account for about 22 per cent of the upland area in 2018, below the 5-year average. In the Delta and the West regions, 2018 cotton acreage is forecast to remain identical to the last season, according to the report. Meanwhile, ELS cotton remains concentrated in the West, where 95 per cent of the 262,000-acre total is forecast to be planted in 2018. California is the major ELS-producing state, accounting for 230,000 acres of the total.