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DTN Cotton Close: Markets Mixed As Dec. Edges Upward

Ernst Undesser
By Duane Howell DTN Cotton Correspondent July 14, 2017

DTN Cotton Close: Markets Mixed As Dec. Edges Upward

©Debra L Ferguson Stock Images

While crop loss and damage are still being assessed, the Texas High Plains will likely wind up around the overall average abandonment of 18% to 20%, perhaps a bit higher, says Lubbock-based PCG.

Cotton futures finished a lightly traded, tight-range session mixed Friday, up 64 to down five points, underpinned by scale mill buying in nearby contracts.

December edged up 21 points to close at 66.58 cents, in the middle of its 59-point range, up 50 points at 66.87 to down nine points at 66.28 cents. March settled down five points at 66.11 cents, near the low of its 57-point trading span from 66.51 to 65.94 cents.

For the week, December lost 201 points and March 227 points. October posted the day’s largest gain, settling at 67.18 cents for a weekly loss of 257 points.

Volume slowed to an estimated 15,321 lots from 19,673 lots the prior session when spreads accounted for 8,311 lots or 42%, EFS 1,030 lots and EFP 80 lots. Options volume declined to 1,977 lots (1,590 calls and 387 puts) from 3,583 lots (2,168 calls and 1,415 puts).

Some estimates of cotton losses from recent severe weather on the Texas High Plains have floated over wide ranges this week, compounded by standing acres of late crops that may or may not have time to mature in the season’s short growing season.

The adversities have included soils too dry to achieve early stands under hot, windy conditions. Then there were scattered hailstorms, sand-blasting by powerful winds and spotty damage blamed on static electricity.

Although damage and loss are still being assessed, the area likely will wind up around the overall average abandonment of 18% to 20%, perhaps a bit higher, Steve Verett, executive vice president of the Lubbock-based Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., said in the weekly PCG newsletter.

Producers replanted around 100,000 to 150,000 acres of “wildcat,” or uninsured cotton, after crop insurance adjustments were made, some estimates have indicated. Some acres were replanted June 30 near Lubbock where the planting deadline for full insurance coverage was June 10.

The standing acres also include badly damaged cotton set back to the extent that it may not begin blooming until the middle to late August. Stands have been thinned and yield potentials reduced. The late cotton will need a long and mild fall.

While the 2016 crop benefited from that kind of weather, there’s no guarantee it will happen again this year, Seth Boyd, Texas AgriLife Extension cotton specialist at Lubbock, pointed out in a recent report.

And historical weather data, he added, “certainly doesn’t favor a cotton crop that comes out of the ground on June 30.”

A large gin near Lubbock has estimated that producers lost 50% of the cotton acres in its territory. Estimates of losses in three western counties have ranged from 35% to 50%.

Amid all this is “great looking” cotton that has benefited from the recent rains, which have reduced the need for irrigation and has good subsoil moisture to tap during the summer growing season.

Progress made by seed breeders in improving both yield potentials and lint quality of cottons adapted to different area conditions adds to the challenge facing crop estimators. Cotton is a tough plant that has shown remarkable recuperative powers, observers point out.

Combined with larger acreage, a significant increase in production could be seen in the northern High Plains, Verett said, barring any additional severe weather.

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will sort it all out in the season’s first “in-field,” survey-based crop estimate on Aug. 10. The report will feature individual state estimates along with crop forecasts for districts across Texas.

Futures open interest grew 3,014 lots to 214,769 Thursday, with October’s down 17 lots to 165, December’s up 1,455 lots to 162,943 and March’s up 774 lots to 33,942. Certified stocks declined 5,648 bales to 66,825. There were 6,492 bales decertified and 844 newly certified bales.

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Ernst Undesser
By Duane Howell DTN Cotton Correspondent July 14, 2017