Texas Cotton: An Atypical Year in the Rio Grande Valley

A cotton field flooded by rains from Hurricane Hanna. Photo: Danielle Sekula, Texas AgriLife Extension

Cotton is one of the main crops grown in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV). According to the latest USDA FSA Acreage Data Report, in 2020 about 162,000 acres of cotton were planted in the four counties of the RGV.

However, the 2020 cotton crop was significantly affected by Hurricane Hanna and severe drought conditions during the growing season. For instance, using the 5-year average cotton yield for the region (i.e., 986 lb/ac) and reported ginned bales for 2020, it is estimated that only 8.1% or about 13,000 of the total acres planted were harvested this year.

Estimated harvest values represent the lowest number and proportion of acres harvested in the RGV over the past 30 years.

The final 2020 RGV Cotton Ginning Report indicates that a total 26,883 bales (480-lb) were ginned in the region. 2020 ginned bales are the second lowest cotton production obtained in the RGV in recent years, only higher than the 18,440 bales produced in 2008, when the region was severely affected by Hurricane Dolly.

2020 production is also slightly lower than the amount of cotton produced in 2009 (i.e., 29,100 bales), when a prolonged drought destroyed most of the South Texas cotton crop.

In terms of the value of production, the 2020 cotton crop is estimated to be worth $9.35 million under current cotton lint and cottonseed prices. Again, the monetary value of the 2020 cotton crop produced in the RGV represents the second lowest valued cotton production in the region since 1990.




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