Inclement weather has done its part to push down the quality of cotton yet dense U.S. growing regions for the soft commodity might be fortunate enough to dodge a bullet, according to published reports.
Hurricane Irene will not be as harmful as it could be to two states' cotton harvest, Bloomberg reports. The tempest was initially projected to run over roughly 25 percent of cotton crops in Georgia, which is the U.S.' second-largest growing state, the news service reports. South Carolina also was in Irene's trajectory.
But the trajectory has changed, according to the National Hurricane Center. It will stay offshore from the continental U.S. and brush the coast of North Carolina on Sunday, continuing on toward New England later that day or early Monday.
Damage to cotton crops in the Southeast U.S. will be minimized due to the new trajectory, said Mike Stevens, an independent trader based in Louisiana.
In Texas, the nation's highest-producing state, lack of rain plus high temperatures has equalled severe circumstances that have been more damaging than anything farmer Kelli Merritt ever has seen.
Having grown up on land in West Texas that she presently tills, Merritt told South East Farm Press that parched land is one byproduct of the worst drought in more than 100 years.
"We've had droughts before," she told the publication. "Even when we're in a drought, we can receive a rain at the right time and make a fair crop. So, I thought we still had a shot at making a crop (in 2011). "That turned out not to be true and our dryland crop never had a chance."
Also the president of CropMark Direct, an outfit that provides cotton growers with marketing services, Merritt monitors crop challenges and difficulties while also noting cotton futures' ebbs and flows on the market.
Cotton futures are on the rise, according to Forex Pros. The soft fiber was up in value more than 2 percent on Wednesday, according to a U.S. Agriculture Department report indicating last week's condition of U.S. crops was low and issues with Pakistani supplies also tightened worldwide inventories.
More than 60 percent of cotton crops in Texas were pegged as "poor" or "very poor" and, by contrast, only 13 percent of crops registered as "good" or "excellent."
Flooding in Pakistan reduced the nation's 2010-11 cotton crop harvest to 8.8 million bales as compared to last year's production. The worst flood on record pushed down output by more than 8 percent.
The soft commodity presently is trading at less than half its record price, which it set in early March. Cotton's all-time high is $2.197 per pound, which was established on March 7.
At 2:31 p.m. on Wednesday, cotton futures slipped 0.24 percent, a .0025 cent drop to $1.0499 per pound.
The Virginia cotton crop is aiming higher, according to Chris Drake, agent for the Cooperative Extension in Southampton County. He told Tidewater news that farmers may anticipate "a decent year" while also noting prospects are elevated but not so much as to challenge prices from the first quarter of 2011.
This year's output could be "an average crop and (there's) the potential for one well above," Drake told the publication. "Historically, it's better than before. As of August 18, cotton futures were at $1.04 per pound. In the early part of 2011, the price was $2, but it's not likely to get back to that level."
Though the brunt of the hurricane will miss Georgia and South Carolina, the regions are likely to endure some rainfall that follows Irene. That moisture is good for the development of cotton crops.
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