Ernie Schroeder Jr., president of cotton merchandiser Jess Smith and Sons, Bakersfield, Calif., said “Yields and quality have been a little better than expected."

“However, yields are all over the board from a bale and a half to three and a half bales.  It has been a very, very strange year. Many growers, however, are a bit surprised at their yields.”

The major of the San Joaquin Valley cotton crop is Pima and rain can be devastating on the premium extra long staple lint. Growers reported rain prior to harvest, but it was generally light and did not damage the cotton in the field.

The latest crop estimate from USDA/NASS pegs American Pima cotton production in California at 450,000 bales from 184,000 acres. Upland cotton is forecast at 380,000 bales from 123,000 bales.

Pima yields are estimated to average 1,174 pounds of lint per acre while Upland yields are estimated to come it at an average of 1,483 pounds per acre.

Growers are pushing the fortuitous harvest window as hard as they can since the weather forecast indicates cooling during the next week; lows in the 30s are possible. There were reports of light fog the first week of November as winter humidity conditions began to kick in.

Growers must wait until the cotton dries before it can be picked and that often delays the start of the harvest day.