2010 cotton prospects a mixed bag for US

Cotton prospects across the US range from potentially fantastic to possibly awful, depending on weather patterns so far this year, Southeast Farm Press reports.

Weather has touched the extremes — too much rain in south Texas and too little in parts of Louisiana, Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Virginia and the Carolinas, the publication reported.

South Carolina cotton farmers, who increased acreage by 50 percent this year over last, are expecting an average crop.

“Production depends on which areas got rain at the right time,” according to Southeast Farm Press. “The crop is ahead by about two weeks and has plenty of heat units.”

Representatives from cotton-producing states gave updates on crop conditions last week during the American Cotton Producers/Cotton Foundation summer meeting in Lubbock, Texas.

Despite the mixed report, cotton production nationwide looks to be up sharply from last year, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

According to the USDA Crop Production Report released Aug. 12, US cotton production forecasts more than 18 million 480-pound bales will come out of this season — up 52 percent from 2009, the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported.

Texas, the nation’s largest cotton-producing state, will likely harvest 5.5 million acres of cotton and produce 8.8 million bales. Estimated average yield is 760 pounds per acre. 

Closer to home, Georgia’s crop started out well, but high heat and humidity the past few weeks have hurt. Observers anticipate the estimated 902 pounds per acre yield estimate will drop by about 5 percent in the next report.

North Carolina is considered a mixed bag at this point, with most looking pretty good but less rain farther south is causing some concern. 

Virginia cotton producers are facing a rough year. The state has had no significant rain since early June and most of the crop is in poor condition, the publication reported. Observers expect average yield to be 650 pounds per acre to 700 pounds per acre, a disappointing yield for Virginia cotton farmers.

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