NASS Issues June Planted Acreage Report; Scattered ShowersReturn To Area

Friday, July 1, 2005                                    By Shawn Wade

      Just as dryland growers arestarting to look to the sky for help and irrigated producers getting ready topick up where Mother Nature left off a couple of weeks ago, a few growers inthe central High Plains heard a welcome sound June 30 when a series of showersmoved across the area.

      High Plains cotton producersare feeling considerably better about the 2005 crop after seeing it make tremendousprogress over the past few weeks to overcome various weather, disease andinsect related setbacks.

      While the moisture receivedthis week was just what the doctor ordered for some, the entire High Plainsregion will shortly reach the point where a timely rainfall is necessary tosustain the progress that has been made, especially on non-irrigated cottonacres.

      Knowing that the crop is inpretty good shape and looking better every day means crop observers want toknow just how much cotton is being grown on the High Plains in 2005.

      The first piece ofinformation needed to answer that question was provided by the TexasAgricultural Statistics Service on June 30 with the release of the June CropAcreage Report. The second part, tallying how many acres have been lost to hailand other causes, is still a moving target and one that will challenge cropobservers throughout the growing season.

      In the TASS report, plantedcotton acres in the High Plains region were estimated at 3.65 million,essentially the same amount planted during the 2004-growing season.

      Statewide, 2005 Texas cottonplantings are projected at 5.8 million acres. This amounts to a modest onepercent, or 50,000 acre, decrease from 2004 levels. Nationwide, however, thestory is slightly different as cotton acreage is estimated to have increased byapproximately 3 percent to 13.8 million acres.

 

USDA Announces First Program Changes To Meet WTO Compliance Obligations

Friday, July 1, 2005                                    By Shawn Wade

      Early this week reports fromWashington said USDA officials were getting ready to present a legislativepackage to Congress that would begin the process of complying with the recentWorld Trade Organization ruling that portions of the U.S. cotton program werein fact prohibited subsidies.

      The WTO appellate body'sdecision, which ended the case brought by Brazil against portions of the U.S.cotton program, included a requirement that the U.S. eliminate or modify whatwere determined to be illegal subsidies by July 1, 2005.

The USDA's intention to deliver alegislative package to Congress indicates the U.S. will indeed begin theprocess of bringing current cotton program provisions in line with the recentre-interpretation of what is and is not allowable under the current WTOAgreement on Agriculture.

      What is not clear however, iswhat form the U.S. response will finally take and whether or not that responsewill totally satisfy the Brazilians.

      The first part of the U.S.response came June 30 when USDA officials announced changes to three of theprograms deemed unacceptable by the WTO. USDA Secretary Mike Johanns announcedchanges to the Export Credit Guarantee Program (GSM-102), the IntermediateExport Credit Guarantee Program (GSM-103) and the Supplier Credit GuaranteeProgram (SCGP).

      Detail about the changes USDAintends to recommend for the Step 2 portion of the Cotton CompetitivenessProvisions had not been announced at publication time for this article. Asummary of the USDA proposal on Step 2 will be provided as soon as the details becomeavailable.

      Johanns announced thefollowing changes in the three export credit guarantee programs that would takeeffect July 1.

      First, CCC will initiate useof a risk-based fee structure for the GSM-102 and SCGP programs. Fee rateswill be based on the country risk that CCC is undertaking, as well as therepayment term (tenor) and repayment frequency (annual or semi-annual) underthe guarantee. The new fees respond to a key finding by the WTO that the feescharged by the programs should be risk based.

      Also as of July 1, the CCCwill no longer accept applications for payment guarantees under GSM-103. Anyremaining country and regional allocations for GSM-103 coverage under fiscalyear 2005 program announcements will be reallocated to the existing GSM-102program for that country or region.

U.S. Senate Approves DR-CAFTATrade Deal

      On a different trade front,the controversial Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement(DR-CAFTA) has been delivered to Congress and has taken its first steps towardimplementation.

      The Bush Administrationdelivered a final version of the agreement to Congress earlier this week and itdid not take long for the package to move forward.

      On Wednesday of this week theSenate Finance Committee approved the DR-CAFTA legislation, setting the stagefor a final Senate floor debate and vote on June 30.

      Texas Senators John Cornynand Kay Bailey Hutchison voted for implementation of the DR-CAFTA Trade dealand the measure was approved by a vote of 54 to 45 with one member not voting.

      Clearance of the bill by theSenate shifts the focus to the House of Representatives, where the margin forerror is reported to be considerably smaller. The Administration and HouseRepublican leadership continue working to ensure the votes needed for passageare secure.

      In the House, the tradepackage will first be debated and voted on by the House Ways and MeansCommittee sometime during the next few weeks. Once it gains Committee approvalit will move to the House floor for final debate and an up or down vote.

 

TBWEF Assessment Collections 2004

Exceed 96% Statewide

Friday, July 1, 2005                                    by Roger Haldenby

      At a meeting of the TexasBoll Weevil Eradication Foundation (TBWEF) board of directors held in Abilene,Texas, Chief Financial Officer Tina Ballard reported that assessmentcollections for 2004 exceed 96% statewide and that collection of assessmentsfor 2005 has started following receipt of certified acreage from USDA's FarmService Agency (FSA).

      Anyone planting cotton in thestate of Texas is required by law to notify TBWEF of the location of thatcotton. For the vast majority of growers, that notification is achieved throughcertification of acres with FSA.

      After the final certificationdate, FSA transmits files to TBWEF detailing acreage, ownership and locationfor all cotton.

      TBWEF board members openlyexpressed gratitude and thanks to FSA personnel at all levels for the valuableand cooperative work they do, providing a major contribution to the success ofall boll weevil eradication programs across Texas.

      2004 assessment collectionpercentages for the six zones in PCG's 41-county area, as of June 24 2005, are:

Panhandle                   99.4%

Western High Plains           97.5%

Southern High Plains         97.2%

Northern High Plains          97.1%

Northwest Plains                97.1%

Permian Basin              96.0%

 

2005 Heat Unit Calculator Adds New Features

Friday, July 1, 2005                                    By Shawn Wade

      The 2005 Heat Unit Calculatorwent on the Plains Cotton Growers' web site (http://www.plainscotton.org) last week and has already receivedits first upgrade with the addition of several new features.

      In addition to calculatinghow many Degree Day 60s (DD60s), or Heat Units, have been accumulated betweenany two dates at weather stations across the Texas High Plains, the updated PCGHeat Unit page now provides a primer on what heat units are and how they can beused to gauge crop progress.

      Also available is a set ofquick reference tables that show accumulated heat units from a set ofpre-determined planting dates (moving forward at seven-day intervals). Eachtable includes accumulated heat units for each weather station location in thePCG database. An example of the data provided in the tables appears in thetable below.

      The 2005 Calculator versionfeatures data for the following Texas locations: Abernathy, Amarillo, BigSpring, Borger, Brownfield, Crosbyton, Dalhart, Denver City, Dimmitt, Dumas,Floydada, Friona, Hart, Hereford, Lamesa, Levelland, Littlefield, Lubbock,Morton, Muleshoe, Olton, Plainview, Post, Seminole, Silverton, Spur, Tahoka,Tulia, Vigo Park, and also Guymon, Oklahoma.

 

AccumulatedHeat Units since May 15th, 2005

basedon latest entered data:

 

Station Name

Accumulated HU

Abernathy

617

Amarillo

545

Big Spring

867

Borger

623

Brownfield

721

Crosbyton

667

Dalhart

476

Denver City

680

Dimmitt

525

Dumas

560

Floydada

687

Friona

585

Guymon OK

435

Guymon OK"

112

Hart

587

Hereford

593

Lamesa

714

Levelland

710

Littlefield

687

Lubbock

742

Morton

684

Muleshoe

596

Olton

639

Plainview

640

Post

786

Seminole

743

Silverton

577

Spur

722

Tahoka

805

Tulia

573

Vigo Park

578