The cotton situation in the USA in 2013/14
The USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum 2013 projects 10.0 million acres for cotton planting, this means a decrease of close to 19 %, mainly due to lower cotton prices and relative net returns that favour shifts to alternative crops
NCCs, the National Cotton Council’s survey forecast 9 million acres was released on February 9, when December 2013 futures prices were three to four cents below their mid-February levels and the survey indicated a decreased cotton acreage in the Southeast and Delta where cotton will be replaced largely with corn and soybeans. There were further indications that wheat acreage – along with corn and sorghum – is replacing cotton in the Southwest, while wheat and specialty crops increase at cotton’s expense in the West.
Cotton plantings of 10 million acres will result in harvested acreage of 8.4 million acres thus an abandonment rate of 16 %, down from 2012’s 23.5 %, such abandonment rates were variable in past years ranging from 2.5 % in 2010 to a record of close to 36 % in 2011. The actual rate is based on longer term, namely ten year average abandonment rates by region.
The Southwest is expected to account for over half of US cotton area again in 2013 and will have a considerable impact on the US crop. The early seasonal drought outlook indicates that persistent drought will continue through the end of April for the Southwest and in addition, below-average precipitation probabilities continue for the region at least through June and these factors could further impact both planted area and rate of abandonment.
The USDA is forecasting a national average yield of 800 pounds per harvested acre, based on three year regional averages. The US 2013 crop production is projected at 14 million bales, nearly 18 % below 2012, and, if becoming reality it would be the lowest since 2009. With carry-in stocks at 4.5 million bales, total supply would be 18.5 million bales or a decrease of nine percent from 2012/13.
U. S. Cotton exports are projected at 11.3 million bales in 2013/14, a decrease of nearly 10 %, as reduced supplies and lower foreign import demand are projected. Although foreign import demand is expected to decline to its lowest in three seasons. Projected ending stocks of 3.7 million bales would decrease for the first time in three seasons, constituting 25 % of total disappearance, slightly above the five year average.