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Well, So Much for the 18-Million Bale Scenario—
And Those Higher Prices
Prior to this week’s USDA crop production estimates, the 2017 US cotton crop was projected at 19 million bales. There seemed to be general consensus, given the crop conditions in parts of Texas, that the crop would not get bigger with this week’s report. There was some belief that the crop is actually less than 19 million (more in the 18 million neighborhood) but that this may not be reflected yet in this week’s August numbers.
The revised crop estimate for August is now 20.55 million bales—1.55 million bales more than the July estimate. Not only did the crop not hold at around 19 million bales but now, if we’re indeed going to eventually retreat to the 18 million bale mark, we’ve got another million and a half bales to cull through.
How Generic Base Could Be Treated in the Cottonseed Proposal. With the 2014 farm bill, cotton base on a farm became Generic Base. To improve cotton’s income “safety net”, cotton industry leadership has sought to make cottonseed a covered commodity and eligible for PLC as an “Other Oilseed” under the current 2014 farm bill. To have a cottonseed program, this would come from the farms Generic Base. Farms with Generic Base and producing cotton or a covered commodity in 2009-2016 would have 2 options for converting Generic Base to cottonseed and/or other bases.
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The current farm bill is now in its 4th year and will expire with the 2018 crop year unless extended. Over the past several years, cotton’s unfavorable policy position has been at the forefront and industry leadership has sought ways to improve the income safet net for cotton producers. Recent developments have been positive and enouraging. The CGCS program and a cottonseed policy are seen as ways to “bridge” the gap and help cotton producers until cotton can be addressed longer term in the next farm bill.
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ARC and PLC payments, if any, are not received until October of the following year after harvest. This is because the price component of ARC and PLC is based on the marketing year for the crop and that is not known until the end of the marketing year. Also, yield data used for ARC are not released by FSA until August or September in the year following harvest.
This delay in payment creates uncertainty in planning and cash flow. Producers may have questions or need estimates of what ARC and PLC payments will be or are expected to be. There are data and tools available to assist in determining these payments.
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2017 costs and return estimates for cotton are now available. These budgets are intended as planning guides and available in both print (PDF) and spreadsheet (Excel) formats. Click on the link below to read more and link to the budgets.
February Report Not a Valentine to Cotton
February has thus far been a brutal month for cotton prices. On February 9th, USDA released its monthly production and supply/demand estimates. The numbers were not pretty. That report isn’t the only thing hammering cotton right now—but it sure didn’t help and added to the already bearish outlook for cotton. Over the next few months as planting season approaches, we’ll hear a lot about acres and the weather. That’s fine; but cotton’s long-term future is all about demand.Just because prices have taken a tumble does not mean acres will decline. Growers know that LDP’s are available when prices are low—the market isn’t the only signal out there. As we near planting time, relative prices, expected LDP’s, and expected ARC/PLC payments on Generic Base will determine which way acres go.
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Ending the Year With a More Positive Outlook
At present, the outlook for 2016 is much the same as for the 2015 crop. With Dec16 again in the 60’s, this may not convince farmers to plant much cotton. But 2016 corn and soybean prices are not as attractive relative to cotton as this year. Also, let’s not forget that at least ½ million acres intended for cotton in Texas was abandoned or switched to another crop due to rain and delayed planting. Also, the large shift to peanuts in GA may not be repeated to that magnitude due to crop rotation constraints.
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View or download previous issues of Cotton Marketing News in PDF format.
The 2015 Georgia Quality Cotton Awards will be given on January 27, 2016 during the Georgia Cotton Commission Annual Meeting at the UGA Conference Center in Tifton. This will be the 11th year of this awards program to recognize producers and gins of high-quality cotton in Georgia. The awards are sponsored by Bayer CropScience and the Georgia Cotton Commission and administered by the UGA Cotton Team. Nominations are due not later than Janury 19, 2016. For more information, contact your local County Extension Agent. Click on the link below to download instructions and the nomination form.
The 2014 Research and Extension Report is now available. The Report contains results of research conducted by UGA cotton researchers, Extension specialists, and county agents during 2014. To view, download, and/or print the Report, go to the menu in the left margin of this Home Page and scroll down to Cotton Resources. Click on Research-Extension Report.