US cotton, minus Southwest, sees strong 2012

cotton photo

Last year proved a solid one for nearly all cotton farmers except those in Texas and Oklahoma.

While states in the South and West registered overall harvest rates of 97 percent or better, Texas farmers lost 40 percent of their crop, more than 2.5 million acres, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

Oklahoma growers planted a smaller amount of cotton than their counterparts in Texas, but lost nearly half their crop, hurt by drought conditions that hit the region.

Overall last year, 12.3 million acres of cotton were planted in the US, and 9.4 million acres were harvested, according to the USDA.

Texas farmers planted more than 6.5 million acres of cotton but were only able to harvest 3.9 million acres. And the yield was just 600 pounds per acre in the Lone Star State, off from the five-year average of 700 pounds.

In Oklahoma growers planted 305,000 acres but only harvested 140,000 acres. Yield per harvested acre was just 480 pounds, down from a five-year state average of 770 pounds.

The good news was that the rest of the nation enjoyed a much better 2012:

  • In the Southeast, nearly 99.5 percent of planted cotton was harvested, with an average yield of nearly 1,000 pounds an acre. Georgia led the way as farmers harvested nearly 1.3 million acres and reaped an average of 1,027 pounds per acre, according to the USDA;
  • The Mid-South saw 98 percent of its sown cotton harvested, a total of nearly 2 million acres, led by Arkansas, where farmers harvested 585,000 acres, with an average yield of nearly 1,100 pounds per acre; and
  • In the West, 97.5 acres of cotton was harvested, 614,000 acres in all, with an average yield of more than 1,500 pounds. California led the way out west with a harvest of 365,000 acres, split between the upland cotton grown in the rest of the nation and extra-long staple Pima cotton.

Projected price for cotton in the coming year is expected to range from 66 to 71 cents per pound, according to Southeast Farm Press.

The publication added that global cotton stocks are projected to increase 2.08 million bales to 81.72 million bales.

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