Texas cotton-growing regions in the upper coastal and lower Blacklands areas have been severely impacted by Hurricane Harvey, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service cotton marketing economist.
Dr. John Robinson, College Station, said harvest activities were only 40 percent complete leading up to the arrival of Hurricane Harvey.
“I have also heard there are 300,000 to 400,000 bales worth of cotton still on the stalk in the affected region,” he said. “Assuming those estimates are accurate, there are a number of possible outcomes.”
Robinson said high winds sliced through many cotton fields, obliterating stalks and lint.
“Those growers will face a 100 percent loss and likely have an insurance claim on that basis,” he said. “Second, some fields will face not only a lot of wind and rain damage, but the uneconomical task of drying out, harvesting and selling degraded cotton lint that is heavily discounted in price.”
Either of those outcomes “will be a disaster at the farm level,” Robinson said.
Additionally, it is unknown what the extent of damages to cotton in storage warehouses, he noted.
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Meanwhile, Robinson said cotton markets will settle once the uncertainty from Hurricane Harvey fades.
“The loss of 300,000 bales does not translate to more than a penny or so impact from the base price or the futures market (contract) price,” he said. “The main aggregate market effect will be figured into the cash market with higher premiums being offered for scarcer, good-quality cotton for the next couple of months.”