Cotton harvest is approaching the half-way point. As of Monday, 46 percent has been picked, two points behind the 5-year average.
In Texas, the biggest cotton producing state, growers are falling behind with only 30 percent picked, which is nine points behind average and two points higher than the previous week.
On the other hand, Georgia is well above average; 61 percent of the crop is harvested.
Mississippi and Louisiana are in the homestretch, with varying yields across Louisiana, especially in the central part of the state.
That area experienced widespread flooding in August, a time when the crop was most vulnerable.
“Yields are variable in central Louisiana, anywhere from 500 to 600 pounds, and some fields, in excess of two bales,” said Dan Fromme, a cotton specialist with the LSU AgCenter.
Those two bales mean close to 1,000 pounds to the acre, but those yields don’t come close to approaching yields in the northeaster portion of the Pelican State, where much of the state’s cotton crop is grown.
“Yields are just fantastic, well over 1,000 pounds with reports of 1,200 to 1,300 pounds of lint per acre,” said Fromme.
He expects the statewide average to be nearly 900 pounds per acre, lower than last year’s 1,000 pounds per acre. Rain not only reduced yields, but also caused quality problems.
“We has some cotton open at that time when we got all that rain, so we’re going to have some color-grade issues from the rain and weathering.”
If the rain wasn’t bad enough, cotton prices remain very low, around 70 cents per pound. Louisiana can expect to see low cotton acreage in the foreseeable future.
“That’s still on the low side, and I think it’s going to take more than that to bring back a significant amount of cotton acres,” said Fromme.
Cotton producers are expected to harvest nearly 134,000 acres of cotton this year compared to a crop of nearly 850,000 acres more than 10 years ago.