Cotton – USDA raises China’s cotton production forecast by 2 percent over last month

By IAC Staff

China’s 2017/18 cotton production is forecast at 24.5 million bales (5.33 million metric tons), up 0.5 million bales or 2 percent from last month, and up 8 percent from last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said.

Area is forecast at 3.1 million hectares, up 2 percent from last month and 8 percent from last year, it said in its August World Agriculture Demand and Supply Estimate (WASDE) report, adding that yield is forecast at 1,707 kilograms per hectare, down slightly from last month but on par with last year’s record yield.

“Official reports from China indicate a moderate increase in the area planted to cotton, specifically in Xinjiang and Hebei provinces, which benefited from favorable weather conditions,” the report said.

According to the report, for the past five seasons, cotton area declined in all cotton regions, especially in the eastern provinces, as farmers responded to changes in agricultural policy. In an effort to deal with larger stockpiles of cotton, the government introduced policy changes in 2014 that resulted in the reduction of government support for cotton production including direct subsidies to farmers, it added.

For 2017/18, however, estimated cotton increased due in part to anticipated higher cotton profitability.

According to the National Cotton Monitoring Network (NCMN) farmers have exceeded the 5-percent year-to-year area increase estimated at the beginning of the season, the report pointed out.

Xinjiang province, in particular, has exceeded early-season expectations of planting by about 2.04 million hectares. The NCMN’s estimates were based on the annual survey of farmers’ planting intentions conducted in March 2017, the report said.

Xinjiang province accounts for roughly two-thirds of the China’s total cotton production.

Planting was complete in May. The crop is now at advanced reproductive stages with harvest expected to start at the end of August. Since the season began in April, most major cotton growing regions have received normal to above-average rainfall, the report said.

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