Weekly Cotton Market Review – USDA

Photo: Nick McMichen

Average spot quotations averaged slightly higher than the previous week, according to the USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service’s Cotton and Tobacco Program. Quotations for the base quality of cotton (color 41, leaf 4, staple 34, mike 35-36 and 43-49, strength 27.0-28.9, and uniformity 81.0-81.9) in the seven designated markets averaged 57.75 cents per pound for the week ending Thursday, August 1, 2019.

The weekly average was up from 57.71 last week, but down from 85.78 cents reported the corresponding period a year ago. Daily average quotations ranged from a high of 58.74 cents Friday, July 26 to a season low of 56.66 cents Thursday, August 1.

Spot transactions reported in the Daily Spot Cotton Quotations for the week ended August 1 totaled 8,394 bales. This compares to 6,375 reported last week and 1,248 spot transactions reported the corresponding week a year ago.

Total spot transactions for the 2018-2019 marketing year were 1,278,960 bales compared to 2,059,928 bales at the end of the 2017-2018 marketing year. The ICE October settlement price ended the week at 61.84 cents, compared to 63.81 cents last week.

Forward Contracting

Upland cotton growers in the United States had booked 2 percent of their expected acreage by the end of July this season. This was below the 8 percent booked through the same period last year. Contracting has been most active in the South Central states where about 6 percent of the crop was under contract by the end of July compared to 17 percent a year earlier.

Southeastern states’ growers had forward contracted about 5 percent, compared with 18 percent in 2018. Southwestern states’ growers had contracted less than 1 percent of the crop, compared to 3 percent last year.

Growers in the Western states had no acreage under contract compared to 4 percent last year. These estimates were based on the National Agricultural Statistics Board’s June Planted Acreage report and information collected by the Cotton and Tobacco Program Market News Division.

Southeastern Markets Regional Summary

Spot cotton trading was slow. Supplies and producer offerings were light. Demand was light. Average local spot prices were steady. Trading of CCC-loan equities was inactive.

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A mix of sunny to party cloudy conditions prevailed across the lower Southeastern region during the period. Hot daytime temperatures were observed in the upper 80s to lower 90s with nighttime lows in the 70s. Scattered afternoon showers brought around 1 inch of precipitation to areas of south Alabama, the Florida panhandle, and areas of coastal Georgia during the week. Localized areas of central Georgia received around one-half of an inch to 1 inch of moisture from localized thundershowers.

Despite the moisture, droughty conditions expanded and soil moisture conditions deteriorated. Producers maintained full irrigation schedules. The crop made good progress and squaring neared completion. Dryland fields were blooming at the top of the crop. In some fields where replanting occurred, producers applied growth control regulators at different stages due to variability in crop maturity within the same field. Insect pressure was light. Target spot was present in south Georgia.

In north Alabama, shedding of small squares and immature bolls was reported in fields by a number of producers. Local experts attributed cloudy conditions following heavy rainfall last week, and stressful drought conditions leading up to the rainfall, as factors in the fruit shed. Producers treated infestations of plant bugs. Corn earworm escapes were observed in a few fields.

White flies were present in some areas, particularly in cotton fields that neighbored produce crops. Treatments for stink bugs continued throughout the entire region. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s (NASS) Crop Progress report released July 29, boll-setting advanced to 72 percent in Georgia and 69 percent in Alabama.

Fair to mostly sunny conditions were observed across the upper Southeastern region during the period. Seasonably hot daytime high temperatures were in the upper 80s to lower 90s. Scattered showers brought light moisture to localized areas of central South Carolina, eastern North Carolina, and Virginia during the week.

Precipitation totals measured from trace amounts to around 1 inch of moisture. The crop advanced at a rapid pace and producers applied plant growth regulators. Producers continued to scout fields for stink bugs and treated hot spots. The bollworm moth flight was underway in the upper Southeastern region and local experts were monitoring fields for escapes.

Pressure from plant bugs remained light, but local experts encouraged producers to continue monitoring fields for re-infestations. According to NASS, boll-setting reached 70 percent in North Carolina, 59 in South Carolina, and 44 percent in Virginia.

Textile Mill

Domestic mill buyers inquired for a moderate volume of color 42 and better, leaf 5 and better, and staple 32 and longer for January through June 2020 delivery. Mill buyers also inquired for a moderate volume of color 41, leaf 4, and staple 34 and longer for December delivery. No sales were reported. Reports indicated most mills have covered their raw cotton needs through October 2019. Demand for open-end and ring-spun yarn was moderate.

Demand through export channels was moderate. Representatives for mills in Hungary purchased a very light volume of USDA Green Card class, color 31, leaf 3, and staple 36 for nearby shipment. Agents for mills in Vietnam purchased a light volume of color 42, leaf 3, and staple 36 for nearby shipment.

Trading

  • A moderate volume mixed lot containing color mostly 31 and 41, leaf mostly 2-4, staple 33 and longer, mike 43-49, strength 27-30, and uniformity 79-82 sold for around 64.00 cents per pound, FOB car/truck, Georgia terms (Rule 5, compression charges paid, 30 days free storage).

North Delta

Spot cotton trading was inactive. Supplies of available cotton and demand were light. Average local spot prices were steady. Trading of CCC-loan equities was inactive. No forward contracting was reported. Most producers are waiting for prices to improve before making any commitments.

A typical summer weather pattern characterized the climatic pattern during the week. Daytime highs were in the low 90s and overnight lows were in the low 70s. Scattered showers brought up to 1 inch of rain to parts of the region. The crop made excellent progress under ideal growing conditions. Irrigation was applied to maintain adequate soil moisture in fields that the rain missed.

According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Crop Progress report released July 29, boll-setting advanced to 87 percent in Arkansas, 26 in Missouri, and 47 percent in Tennessee; crop development in Missouri continued to lag well behind the five-year average. Producers carefully monitored aphid, plant bug, bollworm, and stink bug populations.

Fields were mostly spot treated, as necessary, to control infestations of these insect pests. Target spot was a problem in some places, due to excessive rainfall amounts and high humidity experienced recently, and a few fields were treated with fungicide. Producers reported that early-planted fields were at cut-out.

No trading activity was reported.

South Delta

Spot cotton trading was inactive. Supplies of available cotton and demand were light. Average local spot prices were steady. Trading of CCC-loan equities was inactive. No forward contracting was reported. Most producers are waiting for prices to improve before making any commitments.

Excellent growing conditions were experienced during the week. Daytime highs were in the low 90s and overnight lows were in the low 70s. Scattered showers brought up to 1 inch of rain to parts of the region. The crop made excellent progress under good conditions. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Crop Progress report released July 29, boll-setting advanced to 72 percent in Louisiana and 55 percent in Mississippi.

Target spot and bacterial blight were problems in some fields that received high rainfall amounts recently, and a few were treated with fungicide to control outbreaks. Producers carefully monitored aphid, plant bug, and bollworm populations; spider mites were a problem in a few dry fields. Treatments were applied as necessary to control infestations of insect pests.

Plant growth regulators were applied to control vegetative growth; some boll-shedding was reported. Local experts reported that many fields had reached cut-out; replanted areas continued to lag behind.

No trading activity was reported.

East Texas

Spot cotton trading was moderate. Supplies were moderate. Demand and producer offerings were light. Average local spot prices were steady. Producer interest in forward contracting was light. Trading of CCC-loan equities was moderate. Foreign inquiries were light, but moderate for new-crop.

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Harvesting expanded on dryland acres in the Rio Grande Valley, according to the Pest Cast newsletter published on July 26. Some stands received a second application of defoliation. Final irrigation water was applied on some stands. Insect scouting continued on less mature stands. Verde bugs were found in localized areas. Bolls had begun to pop open in the Coastal Bend (CB) and in the Upper Coast.

Defoliants were applied and harvesting had begun in the CB. Local reports indicated that lots of fields were ready for harvest, and more gins started operations. Bolls were opened on the bottom half of the crop and the top bolls had begun to open in the Upper Coast. Plant pests are of little concern, due to the maturity of the crop. Stands struggled in parts of the Blackland Prairies (BP). Rainfall would help alleviate heat stress and retain fruit. Rainfall in the northern BP brought around 1 inch of beneficial precipitation to fields. Irrigating was underway.

Stands were blooming in Kansas. Hot, dry weather prevailed, and rainfall would be beneficial. Producers continued to manage weeds and scout for plant pests. Rainfall is needed in Oklahoma to lessen heat stress in dryland fields. Irrigated stands have advanced with the additional heat units. Scouting for plant pests continued on later planted stands. Details of the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) were announced on July 25.

The 2019-crop year is the second year of the program, and additional commodities were included. The sign up period began July 29 and will end December 6. The MFP distributes funds to support producers impacted by the ongoing tariffs. Click on this link for more information: https://www.farmers.gov/manage/mfp

West Texas

Spot cotton trading was slow. Supplies and producer offerings were light. Demand was light. Average local spot prices were steady. Producer interest in forward contracting was light. Trading of CCC-loan equities was moderate. Foreign inquiries were light, but moderate for new-crop.

Daytime high temperatures were in the low 90s to low 100s, with overnight lows in the low 60s to low 70s. Some areas received a light amount of localized rainfall that helped alleviate heat stress. Irrigation was underway. Stands were squaring and some were blooming. Cultivation for weeds was underway, and hoe crews were active. Pest populations were above threshold levels in some stands and treatments were applied, mostly for fleahoppers and stink bugs in the Southern Rolling Plains.

Details of the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) were announced on July 25. The 2019-crop year signifies the second year of the program. Additional commodities have been included. The sign up period began July 29 and will end on December 6. The MFP distributes funds to support producers impacted by the ongoing tariffs.

East Texas

In Texas, a mixed lot containing a heavy volume of mostly color 23 and better, leaf 2-4, staple 33 and longer, mike 36-47, strength 23-34, and uniformity 77-82 sold for around 51.00 cents per pound, FOB warehouse (compression charges not paid).

In Kansas, a light volume of mostly color 41 and 51, leaf 7 and better, staple 36 and 37, mike averaging 34.1, strength averaging 28.8, uniformity averaging 80.0, and 75 percent extraneous matter sold for around 45.00 cents, FOB car/truck (compression charges not paid).

In Oklahoma, a mixed lot containing a light volume of mostly color 53 and better, leaf 6 and better, staple 35 and longer, mike averaging 37.5, strength averaging 28.1, uniformity averaging 80.2, and 75 percent extraneous matter sold for around 43.00 cents, same terms as above.

A moderate volume of CCC-loan equities traded for -0.70 to 13.00 cents.

West Texas

A mixed lot containing a light volume of mostly color 41 and better, leaf 3 and 4, staple 34, mike 33-52, strength 26-34, and uniformity 78-82 sold for around 54.00 cents per pound, FOB car/truck (compression charges not paid).

A light volume of mostly color 21 and 31, leaf 4 and 5, staple 36 and longer, mike 28-34, strength 28-30, uniformity averaging 80.4, and 50 percent extraneous matter sold for around 53.00 cents, same terms as above. A moderate volume of CCC-loan equities traded for 3.00 to 24.00 cents.

Desert Southwest (DSW)

Spot cotton trading was inactive. Supplies and demand were light. Average local spot prices were steady. No forward contracting or domestic mill activity was reported. Foreign mill inquiries were light.

Hot, dry weather continued in Arizona. Monsoon activity brought afternoon thunderstorms, which deposited around one-half of an inch of moisture to central Arizona. Higher elevations in Safford received one and one-quarter of an inch of rainfall mid-week. Monsoon activity helped lower afternoon temperatures by 5 to 10 degrees.

Last year, the first samples received from Arizona arrived on August 31. This year, the western Arizona gin plans to begin ginning around mid-September. The crop is about two weeks behind schedule, but some fields approached cut-out stage in Yuma. Producers prepared equipment for defoliation.

Temperatures averaged around 3 degrees higher than normal for cotton-growing areas of New Mexico and El Paso. TX. Overall, the crop made good progress in the DSW.

San Joaquin Valley (SJV)

Spot cotton trading was inactive. Supplies and demand were light. Average local spot prices were steady. No forward contracting or domestic mill activity was reported. Foreign mill inquiries were light.

The Valley has had 22 days of temperatures of 100+ degrees compared to 41 days of 100+ degree temperatures by this time last year. The average number of days is around 36 days. The crop continues to make good progress. The crop was past peak bloom. Insect pressures were mild and easily controlled.

Trading

Desert Southwest

  • No trading activity was reported.

San Joaquin Valley

  • No trading activity was reported.

American Pima (AP)

Spot cotton trading was inactive. Supplies were moderate. Demand was light. Average local spot prices were steady. No forward contracting or domestic mill activity was reported. Foreign mill inquiries were light.

Hot, dry temperatures dominated the weather pattern early in the period. Temperatures were in the high 90s to mid-100s. Monsoon moisture was received in central and Safford, AZ. Precipitation totals measured from one-half of an inch to one and one-quarter inches. The crop made good progress in the FW. Local experts estimated most of the FW crop reached peak bloom. Light insect activity was reported.

Trading

  • No trading activity was reported.

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