U.S. Cotton Crop Nears End of Harvest

According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), 83 percent of the U.S. cotton crop was harvested as of November 29, advancing from 72 percent harvested on November 22. Overall, this season’s harvest is 1 percent ahead of the five-year average (from 2004-08).

Progress is normal in all estimating states, except Arizona and Texas, NASS reports. In West Texas, where 17 percent of the crop still remains in the field, an approaching cold front may bring lower temperatures, snow and sleet this week.

According to the Bureau of the Census, domestic mill consumption of cotton averaged 12,300 running bales per day in October 2009. This was up from 10,700 bales per day a month earlier, but down from 16,700 bales in October last year. Consumption totaled 261,000 bales in October (four weeks), down from 280,000 bales the previous month (five weeks), and 333,000 bales in October last year (four weeks).

Stocks of cotton at mills totaled 143,000 bales at the end of October 2009, according to the Bureau of the Census. This compares with 165,000 bales held a month earlier and 157,000 bales held at the end of October last year. Cotton in public storage totaled 4,718,000 bales at the end of October 2009, up from 3,902,000 bales the previous month, but down from 8,739,000 bales at the end of October last year.

In other news, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on December 1 that because cotton storage facilities in Florida and Missouri are expected to fill, cotton that is pledged as collateral for Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) loans in those states can be stored in specifically designated outdoor areas.

To be authorized for outside storage of cotton-loan collateral, a warehouse must agree to specific storage and reporting requirements for yard-stored bales before it can be authorized to put them outside.

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