An unusually large reduction in overall yield prospects for the Texas crop paved the way for a significant downward shift in the projected size of the State's 2010 Upland cotton crop.

The changes, which cumulatively reduced Texas production by 600,000 bales to 8.3 million bales, were primarily concentrated in the High and Rolling Plains regions and reflect a growing sentiment among producers, who have harvested approximately 60 percent of their crop since the release of the October Crop Production report, that something was amiss in their fields.

Chinks showing

For many growers the advancing harvest had begun to reveal a chink or two in the 2010 crop's previously pristine armor. With nothing definitive to pin it on though, growers throughout the area had been quietly wondering if they might be the only ones whose fields were yielding slightly less than they had expected based on pre-harvest measures.

This week's USDA Crop report indicates that these concerns were not isolated and that, overall, the crop was producing less cotton than had originally been estimated by producers and USDA field enumerators.

With no clear idea what, exactly, is responsible for the decline, it appears that most of the yield revisions were made to account for slightly reduced yield prospects in the region's typically reliable irrigated fields. On a yield per harvested acre basis, the average reductions applied to the High Plains crop in districts 1-N and 1-S were 19 and 66 pounds, respectively. 

On a percentage basis those changes reflect a 1.8 percent pull-back in the expected yield for district 1-N and a higher 8.7 percent pull-back in 1-S yields. While the revisions seem relatively modest at the acre level, multiplying them by the report's 3.6 million harvested acre total amounted to an overall reduction of 420,000 bales. The changes resulted in the High Plains forecast dropping from 6.16 million bales to the November projection of 5.74 million bales.

High Plains harvested acreage figures remained unchanged in the November report, as is often the case, even though storms that crossed the area in early October should eventually add to the region's abandonment total.

Abandonment low

Right now abandonment is still only tallied at 160,000 acres, or 4.3 percent of planted acreage. The October storm losses could push that number higher, but probably not until USDA releases final county level totals next spring.

Nationally the November report estimated total U.S. Upland production at

17.92 million bales, down 455,000 bales from the October report. Yield reductions in Texas and Oklahoma, totaling 610,000 bales, were partially offset by increases in expected production in Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina and Virginia that totaled 155,000 bales.

The table below includes district level figures for Texas as reported by the Texas Agricultural Statistics Service and published by USDA NASS.

District estimates

Texas District Estimates 2009 and 2010* Upland Cotton

 

            Planted Acres  Harvested Acres  Yield/Acre    Production

            2009     2010   2009     2010  2009   2010   2009      2010

District      1,000 acres     1,000 acres      pounds      1,000 bales

---------------–---------–---------–---------–---------–---------–-------

1 - N       600.0    810.0   501.0   760.0   880  1,036   918.0  1,640.0

1 - S     2,667.0  2,950.0 1,929.0 2,840.0   642   693  2,579.0  4,100.0

2 - N       340.5    375.0   286.0   370.0   594   610    354.0    470.0

2 - S       509.0    515.0   407.0   510.0   369   499    313.0    530.0

4            62.5    110.0    56.7   105.0   477   777     56.3    170.0

7           176.0    200.0   136.2   195.0   579   640    164.2    260.0

8 - N        51.5     55.0    24.2    53.0   712  1,087    35.9    120.0

8 - S       338.0    280.0    16.7   275.0   356   890     12.4    510.0

9            90.5    136.0    77.4   130.0   526   775     84.8    210.0

10 - S       74.7     95.0    23.2    90.0   602   747     29.1    140.0

OtherDist.   90.3     74.0    42.6    72.0   826  1.000    73.3    150.0

---------------–---------–---------–---------–---------–---------–-------

State     5,000.0  5,600.0 3,500.0 5,400.0   634   738  4,620.0  8,300.0

Source: National Agricultural Statistics Service;

* = preliminary November 2010