BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Calcot's board of directors have approved the third progress payment for Seasonal Pool Upland and the fourth payment for Pima cottons in the 2003-04 season. With about five months to go in the marketing year, the latest progress payment brings base grade SJV Acala to 70 cents per pound, and desert C/A and California Upland styles to well over 60 cents.

A payment of 4.35 cents per pound was authorized for SJV Acala, base grade 31-3-36, which pushes the advance from the previous level of 65.65 cents to an even 70 cents on a gin UD free basis, according to the producer-owned cooperative’s board.

A 3.35-cent payment was approved for both California Upland and C/A desert cottons, base grade 31-3-35, bringing the advance to 64.65 cents and 63.05 cents, respectively. California Upland is on a gin UD free basis, while C/A is on a "net" basis.

Directors also approved a 7-cent-per-pound payment for roller-ginned Ultima cotton, grade 31-3-38, and for SJV and C/A Pima cottons, grade 2-46.

Following the progress payment, Ultima will be at 77.85 cents per pound, gin UD free, while SJV Pima will reach $1.148 and C/A Pima will be at $1.128. SJV Pima is also on a gin UD free basis.

Some adjustments must be made in some categories: SJV Acala, Grade Group 4 (strict low middlings) will be paid 200 points less than the base payment of 4.35 cents per pound for Acala cotton, but C/A and California Upland cottons, 5.0 and higher micronaire, Grade Group 5 and better, will receive an additional premium of 100 points, bringing that payment to 4.35 cents.

Payments in the seasonal pool were the only amounts approved by the board; no call pool payments were authorized at this time.

Total payment across the membership tallies $14.3 million.

Checks were expected to be in the mail by March 26, Calcot President Bob Norris said.

In recommending the payment, Norris told the board, "Recent sales and shipments have been brisk to heavy, as additional demand from China and other markets has emerged. The Calcot sales, classing, shipping and warehousing departments have been very busy setting up and meeting shipping schedules to maximize income for the membership, and I believe we are in a very good position to recommend this payment."

Norris noted most Far Western producers are currently gearing up to plant the 2004-05 crop, which so far has seen nearly ideal weather. Planting forecasts have recorded some of the highest degree-day accumulations in modern times.

e-mail: hcline@primediabusiness.com