Seshadri Ramkumar, Texas Tech University, USA
Cotton crop from Texas will be good, this year. With Christmas on the horizon, harvest in the High Plains of Texas is nearly completed with about 85-90 percent of crop harvested. The recent estimate from the USDA, puts this year’s production of upland crop from the United States at 20.713 million bales (480 lbs. each). Cotton from the High Plains of Texas will be about 5.57 million bales (480 lbs. each) and the total crop from Texas will be about 9.5 million bales (480 lbs. each).
Recently Lubbock-based Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. (PCG), witnessed a large attendance of stakeholders to discuss the harvest situation, shipment of cotton, impending tax legislation in the U.S. Congress, to name a few. In welcoming the gathering at the last meeting of this year, Steve Verett, Executive Vice President of PCG recognized the importance of shared contribution and information sharing; stated, “the interest and participation of stakeholders with diverse expertise is a testimony to the importance of the cotton sector in the High Plains.” He added, the industry gains more information from such meetings that involve people from R & D, banking sector, representatives of elected officials and academics.
Shawn Wade, PCG’s Director of Policy Analysis and Research stated that this year’s crop in the High Plains will be larger than the last one with about 5.5 million bales. Last year’s crop was about 5.1 million bales. Activities in Washington, DC are on a high gear this week to pass the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, which will result in the permanent reduction in corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, that goes into effect next year. This probusiness legislation is expected to enable long term capital investments by the industry. Having returned from his recent trip to DC, Kody Bessent, PCG’s Vice President of Operations and Legislative Affairs stated, “overall, the revised tax code provisions should be positive for agriculture.”
Quality of this year’s crop from the High Plains of Texas is being closely watched by the industry. According to Danny Martinez, Area Director of the USDA cotton classing office in Lubbock, with about 50 percent of crop ginned in the 24 counties his office serves, but for micronaire issue, other important aspects such as length, strength and color grade are good. Seasonal average value of strength shows the cotton is in the strong range with the average strength being about 29.78 g/tex. Length is in the 36 staple, which is about what is expected in the area. This year, Martinez expects about 4 million bales to be ginned out of 72 gins, which gets classed in his office in Lubbock.
Mark Brown, Director of Field Services at PCG stated, quality has been a concern this year, with the low micronaire issue. Probable reasons could be the cool and cloudy weather in the month of September and some late planting situations that did not let the crop mature well enough for the harvest. High Plains will have good crop and so some gins may have to run until February or March to wrap-up this year’s crop.
With regard to the demand of cotton, Turkey and Pakistan are buying. Getting cotton quickly out of the shores of the United States is important from exports point of view. Overall, 2017 has been a good year for the U.S. cotton sector in terms of production and demand.