The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) said it estimates India’s 2015/16 cotton production at 26.8 million bales (480-pound bales), down 3.6 percent or 1 million bales from last month and down 9.2 percent from last year.
The downward revision is based on reports of low market arrivals. Harvested area is estimated at 11.8 million hectares, same as last month, and down 7.1 percent from last year, it said in its latest monthly report.
Yield is estimated at a 5-year low of 494 kilograms per hectare (kg/ha), down 3.7 percent from last month and down 2.4 percent from last year. In the past five years India’s cotton area and yields have averaged 11.95 million hectares and 530 kg/ha, respectively.
Cotton harvest in India is almost complete and for three consecutive months, January, February and March, USDA has decreased estimated production by 1.8, 0.7 and 3.6 percent, respectively.
The major factors shaping the downward revision are reports of significantly lower productivity across the major cotton-growing regions, the report said, adding that yields are reported at record low levels due to factors such as early monsoon withdrawal and widespread whitefly and cotton leaf curl virus infestations in the northern regions.
In a good season, farmers pick fields four to five times during February and March. This year, however, mixed conditions have discouraged farmers from extended pickings and some fields may be picked only three times.