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Cotton producers optimistic about status of 2021 crop

By Whitney Curry

Plains Cotton Growers

The weather in the Texas High Plains has posed different types of challenges for producers in the Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. (PCG) service area this year.

With the rainfall and late start to planting, producers are now praying for steady weather, heat units and a good September to finish out the growing season.

Despite the late start, most of the crop has received timely rains and mild to optimal temperatures. However, when looking at the crop in the field, the combination of planting date and accumulated heat units, it is estimated that the crop is anywhere from 10 to 14 days behind schedule.

The initial statewide USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) report was released last week. Texas upland cotton production is currently forecast at 7.10 million bales from 5.5 million acres harvested. Statewide yield is estimated at 620 pounds per acre, down slightly from 686 pounds last year. In 2020, 4.57 million bales of cotton were produced in Texas on 3.2 million harvested acres.

“A crop of this size certainly has the potential, provided we continue to receive additional timely rainfall, coupled with necessary heat unit accumulation,” PCG CEO Kody Bessent said. “It is important to note, though, that we have well over a month to go before we begin to realize the full potential of the 2021 crop and these next few weeks will be especially critical for many growers.”

According to Dr. Suhas Vyavhare, extension entomologist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Lubbock, there has been some insect activity in almost every field around the area, with researchers most recently reporting the presence of aphids in some areas.

Vyavhare says over the next few weeks it will be critical to keep an eye out for boll worms moving into cotton from other crops around the area.

One of the bigger surprises of the week was the cotton market closing higher Thursday as traders reacted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s unexpected August crop update in the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report released Thursday.

The WASDE report included a decrease in U.S. Upland cotton production from 17.80 million bales to 17.26 million bales for the 2021 crop. Supported by healthy demand for cotton and the potential for the crop this season the market reacted favorably with prices at press time trading at 94.32 cents on the December 2021 futures contract.

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