USDA’s August Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) reportprojected a record cotton crop, due to 1.54 million more planted acres and a favorable growing season. Despite late-season storms, including Hurricane Harvey and devastating crop damage in some cotton-growing regions, those projections increased from 20.55 million bales of cotton in August to 21.76 million bales in September. The September WASDE report came out just days after Hurricane Irma hit Florida and its remnants damaged crops in Georgia.
“The Southern Texas and Texas Rolling Plains region experienced significant cotton losses or degradation,” said Darren Hudson, professor of agricultural and applied economics at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas. “Hurricane Harvey totally destroyed a couple cotton gins, so there will be some ‘shuffling of the deck’ in the Corpus Christi area this ginning season.”
Yet, the Texas High Plains area stayed on track to produce a record-breaking crop. “Gins and oil mills in the Lubbock area have ample cottonseed supplies of last year’s crop still available,” Hudson added.
"Texas High Plains growers produce, on average, about two-thirds of the Texas cotton crop and about 30 percent of the nation’s crop each year,” Plains Cotton Growers Executive Vice President Steve Verett said. “This year’s crop generally has excellent potential, although we have experienced some crop loss due to severe weather. We believe that the quality should be very good. Barring any additional severe weather impacts, it is possible that we could have one of the largest crops in our 41-county service area in our organization’s history.”
With plentiful cottonseed in the pipeline, cottonseed prices look favorable for dairy farmers, said Hudson. “There should be an ample supply of quality cottonseed available.”
According to Tom Wedegaertner, director of cottonseed research and marketing, Cotton Incorporated, “We lost about 400,000 cotton bales and the cottonseed with it due to Hurricane Harvey’s damage this season. It appears the two hurricanes’ impact on cottonseed available for feeding dairy cows has stabilized the market.”
“With its ‘triple punch’ of fiber, protein and energy, cottonseed is a premium feed ingredient for high producing cows – even when it seems expensive,” Wedegaertner continues. “Whole cottonseed is proven to increase milk and butterfat production when added to rations.”
Typical rations can include up to 15 percent cottonseed on a dry matter basis. Cotton Incorporated suggests producers get in touch with their cottonseed merchant or feed dealer to check prices, or submit a request for cottonseed quotes through its Cottonseed Marketplace at www.wholecottonseed.com.
Cotton Incorporated, funded by U.S. cotton producers and importers of cotton and cotton textile products, conducts worldwide research and promotion activities to increase the demand for and profitability of cotton.