Harvey has come and gone, and the impact Irma will have on cotton is yet to be seen.
Having caused havoc in the Caribbean, Hurricane Irma, according to forecasts, may move upward to South Carolina and Georgia after slamming the Florida coast. What influence it will have on cotton in the southern cotton growing regions is not clear.
In Lubbock recently, cotton industry stakeholders packed a room to discuss the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey on the global cotton sector. “I could handle one storm, but not another one in a two-week timeframe,” said one cotton merchant.
South Texas cotton producers are moving back to the fields to continue harvest. Reports show that cotton in many fields weathered the storm better than expected. Round modules have performed well compared to the conventional ones. And, while a few gins have been hit hard, the ginning industry is working diligently to resume operations to support the harvest.
One positive aspect is that the demand for cotton is strong, and China is buying. What matters is will the industry be able to deliver to meet China’s immediate demands in October and November?
The High Plains of Texas is hoping to have a 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. The High Plains harvested about 5.118 million bales last year, which was the highest for the region in past five years.
Referencing the NOAA national forecast for the next few weeks, Steve Verett, executive vice president of Plains Cotton Growers, was optimistic that the weather could deliver a good crop. Forecasts show above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation, which should enable good maturity.
Intermediate to long term forecasts are also favorable from a yield standpoint and higher crop potential, 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.