August Crop Estimate HoldsFew Surprises;

Texas OnPace To Set 2004 Production Record

LUBBOCK, August 13, 2004                   By Shawn Wade

      Throughoutthe season most cotton discussions have been shaped by the fact that 2004 wasshaping up to be a record year for cotton around the globe.

      Thursday'sAugust Crop Production report from the National Agricultural Statistics Servicedid nothing to dispel that sentiment.

      Projectinga strong U.S. Upland cotton crop of 19.48 million bales, the NASS report wasperhaps a little above the general range of expectations for the first measureof the 2004 crop. On the other hand the reaction by the market and amongindustry observers, certainly showed that the number is not out of the realm ofpossibility.

      Texasnumbers released by the Texas Agricultural Statistics Service illustrateclearly the excellent shape the crop was in during the late July survey period.Overall Texas is forecast to produce a record 6.3 million Upland cotton balesfrom 5.5 million harvested acres and set a new yield record of 550 pounds perharvested acre.

      Closerto home, the estimated production for the High Plains region was set at arecord 3.89 million bales for crop reporting districts 1-N and 1-S. Projectedyields for 1-N and 1-S were 742 and 498 pounds respectively.

      Tosome these numbers seem a little high when considering the wide range ofmaturity that comprises the 2004 crop. With cotton ranging from the very earlyto the very late, the calendar and the September/October temperature pattern becomethe primary factors driving what may or may not happen.

      Thereis no getting around the fact that a fair number of acres south of Lubbock arenon-irrigated and were planted late in June. These acres have generallyreceived the moisture they need. How they turn out is essentially a factor ofthe calendar and their receiving normal weather the rest of the season.

      Cottonacreage north of Lubbock is in essentially the same position, but has a muchsmaller margin of error. The calendar there is an even bigger factor, due tothe fact this area tends to add heat units at a slower pace in September andOctober.

      Inorder to capture the tremendous yield potential that exists in this areaanother warm, open Fall is the must have ingredient.

      Asis so often the case, whether or not the High Plains crop breaks records orhearts in 2004 will depend on the weather pattern that dominates over the next6-8 weeks.

      Warmtemperatures and clear, sunny days are the key to breaking records in 2004.Anything less could begin to slowly shave 2004 crop potential one shed boll ata time. This is especially true in northern areas that historically accumulateheat units at a slower rate from mid-August through the end of October.

      Toillustrate this point, from August 11 through October 31 Lubbock willhistorically accumulate around 828 heat units. In order to reach the Long TermAverage (LTA) heat unit accumulation Lubbock only needs to accumulate 810 Heatunits through October 31.

      Thiswould seem to indicate that growers in Lubbock that planted on or before May 15are 1-3 days ahead of schedule in terms of heat unit accumulations compared tothe LTA.

      Adifferent situation exists north of Lubbock where growers are in a slightlymore precarious position.

      Lookingat the LTA, crops in this region are either running slightly ahead of schedulefor acreage planted May 1 or slightly behind if they were planted by May 15.Amarillo area growers should normally expect to receive only about 680 moreheat units through October 31.

      Thatnumber has certainly not been the norm the past few seasons, especially in theAmarillo area.

      Mosteveryone agrees that the crop projected by Texas Agricultural Statistics Serviceis probably in the field today. What they also need to acknowledge is thatregardless of everything that has gone into getting the crop to this point, thefinal outcome could still leave many shaking their heads and wondering -"What if ?"

      Thefollowing tables illustrate where the 2004 crop stands in terms of total heatunit accumulations (DD-60s) versus the long-term average and the 2002-2003seasons.

 

Heat Unit Comparisons

Long Term Average(LTA) versus 2004

 

 

LTA HU's through 8/10:

LTA HU's through 10/31:

From:

May 15

June 1

May 15

June 1

Amarillo

1290

1169

1970

1849

Lubbock

1520

1327

2347

2154

 

 

 

 

 

 

2004

2004

 

HU's through 8/10/04:

HU's Needed to Reach LTA:

From:

May 15

June 1

May 15

June 1

Amarillo

1274

1069

696

780

Lubbock

1537

1260

810

894

Source: National WeatherService, Texas Cooperative Extension

 

2002-2003 Averageversus 2004

 

 

2002-2003

2002-2003

 

Average HU's through 8/10:

Average HU's through 10/31:

From:

May 15

June 1

May 15

June 1

Amarillo

1389

1239

2116

1966

Lubbock

1578

1388

2524

2334

 

 

 

 

 

 

2004

2004

 

 

HU's through 8/10/04:

HU's Needed to Reach

2002-2003 Average:

From:

May 15

June 1

May 15

June 1

Amarillo

1274

1069

842

897

Lubbock

1537

1260

986

1074

Source: National WeatherService, Texas Cooperative Extension