In what some may describe as the “never-ending harvest,” cotton remains on the stalk in portions of the PCG service area, making for an exceptionally long year that already has brought its share of challenges.
PCG estimates that harvest is at least 90 percent complete across the 41-county service area, with much of the current activity in eastern parts of the region. Damp weather and precipitation has delayed cotton harvest over the past couple of months. A few gins are approaching the completion of their season, while others still have awhile to go.
Quality actually has improved over the course of the season, particularly in color. Periods of open weather have allowed for sunshine to “bleach out” cotton fibers, and conditions have been more dry in recent weeks as compared to the beginning of harvest, when significant rainfall occurred.
Prices have been responding to a variety of factors, including decreased demand, trade disputes, and overall uncertainty regarding the stock market, coupled with a tense political climate most directly related to the current U.S. partial government shutdown. Futures were in the lower 70s, although at press time, markets were trending upward as the Dow Jones was trading higher. Global stocks are expected to further tighten on a smaller India crop, but the lack of USDA reports during the government shutdown is preventing the market from responding to at least that factor.
“Today’s jobs report was strong, reflecting continuing good economy and hopefully consumer spending, which is beneficial looking for apparel (and) fiber demand,” Dr. John Robinson, professor and Extension specialist in cotton marketing at Texas A&M, said, noting that it’s “not unusual to see a mix of good and bad indicators for the general economy.”