More than 40 percent of this year’s American Pima cotton has been sold with the crop little beyond the seedling stage, according to Supima.

With the 2010 crop of 483,000 bales sold out and more than 300,000 bales of the anticipated 700,000-bale U.S. crop already sold at least five month before harvest, demand and prices should continue strong.

Spot Pima prices are at $2.60 per pound, not far off the peak of $3.05 for last season’s crop.

With the current (2010-2011) crop virtually sold out, and with prices continuing to stay high for the new crop, the current forecast for new crop production certainly looks to fall far short of old production levels and records, according to Marc Lewkowitz, executive vice president of Supima.

California is the largest producer of Pima, and it looks like the final acreage could be about 40,000 acres less than the most optimistic pre-planting estimates.

American Pima cotton production reached a high mark of 851,800 bales during the 2007-2008 crop year with 288,100 acres. The actual running bale figure from that year was 823,500 bales according to the USDA.

Last year, the production for the 2010-2011 crop year for American Pima cotton crop was listed at 483,450 running bales. When prices for that crop topped $3 per pound, a much bigger 2011-2012 crop was expected — possibly a new record crop.

However, there will be no records this season.

The initial USDA–NASS Prospective Plantings Report from was disappointing, as total U.S. American Pima cotton acreage was forecast to be 252,500 acres. Arizona was predicted to see 9,000 acres versus 2,500 the year before. Similarly, California and New Mexico were also expecting increases from 182,000 acres to 225,000 acres and from 2,700 acres to 3,500 acres respectively. Texas on the other hand was forecast to see acreage fall from 17,000 acres the year before to 15,000 acres.

Two months later, estimates have changed a little based on independent industry surveys and a lot of coffee shop talk, according to Lewkowitz.