O.A. Cleveland, professor emeritus, Mississippi State University, expects the Southeast cotton growing region to produce a crop of about 4.3 million bales, with an average yield of between 700 pounds and 750 pounds.

“Georgia was very droughty to begin with, although not to the extent of Texas,” Cleveland said. “They have had recent rains, but many are isolated and it’s caused an extremely spotty crop. You can have a lot of young cotton and a lot of old cotton in the same fields, which will without question affect yield.”

South Alabama suffered through the same drought and isolated rains, “and from central Alabama south, is very much like Georgia. It’s a very spotty crop and yields will be reduced.”

North Carolina planted the third highest acreage in the United States this spring, and has had good growing conditions. Remaining Southeast states of Virginia and South Carolina are below their trend yields.

Mid-South

Cleveland says the Mid-South could also produce a crop of 4.3 million bales, “with both regions together producing between 8.6 million and 8.8 million bales.”

Mississippi, Tennessee and south Arkansas “have good looking crops from the road,” according to Cleveland, “but the crops are late. A year ago we saw crops cutting out from the drought. This year, it’s not abnormal to go out in a field and not find a bloom. They’re reasonably-sized plants, they’re just so late.”

Cleveland says the lateness “can be made up. We do it every year. We’re seeing this in the Mid-South and Southeast. We’re going to need a very handsome fall if we’re going to harvest a good-sized crop. If this crop gets perfect or near-perfect conditions, we could go a million bales higher for both regions combined.”

The Cotton Roundtable was sponsored by Intercontinental Exchange, Ag Market Network, Certified FiberMax, Cotton Incorporated and Farm Press Publications.