Seshadri Ramkumar, Texas Tech University, USA
Harvey has come and gone and the impact Irma will have on cotton is yet to be seen.Having caused havoc in the Caribbean, category-4 hurricane Irma after slamming Florida coast according to forecasts, may move upward to South Carolina and Georgia. What influence it will have on cotton in the southern cotton growing regions like Georgia is not clear.
Today, in the Lubbock office of Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., with a packed room full of cotton industry stakeholders, people started discussions focusing on the aftermath of hurricane Harvey on the global cotton sector.
“I could handle one storm and not another one in two week timeframe,” said one cotton merchant. South Texas cotton producers have come back to the fields recently to start picking the cotton. Cotton in the fields has weathered the storm better than expected. Round modules have performed well compared to the conventional ones.
While a few gins have been hit hard, the ginning industry is working diligently to resume operations to support the harvest. Positive aspect is that the demand for cotton is strong and China is buying. What matters is that will the industry be able to deliver to China to meet their immediate demands in October-November months?
High Plains of Texas is hoped to have higher crop than last year. Weather between now and the harvest will influence how big the difference is going to be compared to last year’s crop. High Plains harvested about 5.118 million bales last year, which was the highest for the region in past five years. Referring to national forecast from NOAA for next few weeks, Steve Verett, Executive Vice President of Plains Cotton Growers was optimistic about the weather that could deliver a good crop. Forecasts show temperature above normal and below normal precipitation, which should enable good maturity.
Intermediate to long term forecasts are favorable from yield stand point and higher crop from High Plains stated, Shawn Wade, Director of Policy Analysis and Research at Plains Cotton Growers. With the United States expected to export about 14.9 million bales, quality is the driver.