Winter Storm MeansUnwanted Delays;
High Plains Harvest Estimated To Be 75% Complete

Friday,December 1, 2006                   By Shawn Wade

      Ablast of frigid artic air rolled into Texas this week and brought cottonharvest activity in the Texas Panhandle, High and Rolling Plains regions to astandstill.

      Howlong producers are kept out of the field will be a factor of how much rain,sleet and snowfall accompanied the wintry weather. In most areas of the Highplains a mix of sleet and snow have combined to leave from 1-3 inches of totalprecipitation. In some areas, however, snowfall totaled over 5 inches and hasthe potential to keep producers out of the field for more than just a few days.

      Priorto the storm system's arrival, Texas Cooperative Extension reports indicatedthat harvest activity in the Plains Cotton Growers service territory, whichincludes 41 Panhandle and High Plains counties, is between 75-80 percentcomplete.

      Applyingthat figure to the National Agricultural Statistics Service's 4 million-baleproduction estimate for the area means as many as 750,000 bales could still be "onthe stalk" at this time. Producers with cotton still in the field are hopefulthat the weather system, which moved quickly into the area November 30, willmake a similarly hasty exit and have a minimal impact on the crop.

      Oneof their chief concerns is the potential impact on cotton quality, which hasbeen one of the distinctive features of the 2006 crop.

      Inthat regard, the concern heard most often is that some areas are seeingMicronaire values trending lower over the past few weeks. Fortunately itappears that outside of a few isolated pockets of cotton where Micronairereadings have fallen below 3.5, the average for the crop continues to hang justinside the premium range at 3.89.

      The following tableprovides a summary of the cotton classed at the Lubbock and Lamesa USDA CottonDivision Cotton Classing Offices for the 2006 production season.

 

Week Ending November 30, 2006:

 

Office

Bales

Color

Leaf

Staple

Lamesa

100,071

21+ - 71%

31 – 27%

2.96

36.16

Lubbock

310,244

21+ - 60%

31 – 37%

3.12

36.23

 

Mike

Strength

Uniformity

Bark

Lamesa

3.94

29.12

80.75

10.0%

Lubbock

3.78

29.43

81.12

18.2%

 

 

Season Totals To Date:

 

Office

Bales

Color

Leaf

Staple

Lamesa

418,283

21+ - 59%

31 – 35%

3.08

35.99

Lubbock

1,422,429

21+ - 51%

31 – 43%

3.21

36.25

 

Mike

Strength

Uniformity

Bark

Lamesa

4.10

29.18

80.76

9.5%

Lubbock

3.89

29.92

81.25

16.9%

 

Despite A Slow September 1stQuarter Marketings
Prove To Be Better Than Average

Friday,December 1, 2006                   By Shawn Wade

      Tryingto determine what is average is a good way to get in trouble, especially whentrying to describe what is happening in something as hard to predict as thecotton market.

      Todaymost of the talk you hear in regard to the cotton market is that interest andsales volume have been slowly picking up in recent weeks, but that it stillhadn't reached what most feel is a normal pace.

      Withthe release of the October NASS Agricultural Prices report there may be a wholenew topic for discussion. That new discussion is likely to be focused onfiguring out just how slow the market has really been during the first quarterof the marketing year.

      TheNovember report, which includes preliminary information for the first threemonths of the 2006 cotton marketing season, shows that things may not have beenas bad as everyone thought they were.

      Aquick look at the numbers shows that from August 1 through October 31 just over3.1 million bales of cotton were traded. Comparing that figure to the averagemarketings reported during the first quarter of the 2003-2005 marketing yearsshows that the 2006 crop is actually exceeding the average pace of the previousthree years by a healthy 356,000 bales.

      Firstquarter marketings for the 2003, 2004 and 2005 crop years were 2.9 million, 2.7million and 2.6 million bales, respectively. Hopefully the strong 3.1million-bale number posted in 2006 is a sign that marketings will proceed at anormal rate for the remainder of the marketing year.

      The following table shows theaverage price received each month by farmers and the associated weightedaverage price based on prices and cumulative marketings from August 1 throughOctober 31, 2006.

      The 2006 Counter-cyclical paymentrate authorized under the 2002 Farm Bill will be based on the 12-month WeightedAverage Price Received by growers. For cotton the 12-month Weighted AveragePrice will reflect price and marketings for the 2006 marketing year. The 2006cotton marketing year began in August 1, 2006 and ends July 31, 2007.

 

Average Price Received For 2006-crop Upland Cotton(Weighted by Marketings)

 

Marketings

Prices

 

(000's of Running bales)

(cents/Lb.)

 

Monthly

Cum.

Monthly

Weighted

August

1,970

1,970

45.80

45.80

September

182

2,152

47.30

45.93

October

994

3,146

46.10

45.98

November

na

na

46.60*

na

Source: National Agricultural Statistics Service;* = preliminary

 

Symposium Highlights Success of 2002Farm Bill
And Prospects For New Legislation

Friday,December 1, 2006                   By Shawn Wade

      U.S.Senator John Cornyn provided the keynote address for the Sixth Annual TexasCommodity Symposium November 29 in Amarillo and proved to be a highlight ofwhat participants are describing as one of the best programs in the Symposium'shistory.

      Cornynjoined an outstanding line-up of speakers for this year's program that includedTodd Staples, Texas State Senator and newly-elected Texas Commissioner ofAgriculture; U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry of Amarillo; Larry Combest, former HouseAgriculture Committee Chairman; Dr. James Richardson, Co-Director, TheAgricultural & Food Policy Center, Texas A&M University; John Fuston,Texas FSA Executive Director; and Dr. Larry Butler, USDA NRCS Texas StateConservationist.      Cornyn discussed various issuesimportant to the Texas farm and ranch community, including reauthorization ofthe farm bill, securing America's borders and reforming the broken immigrationsystem, permanently repealing the death tax, and reducing the nation'sdependence on foreign energy sources.

      "TheTexas congressional delegation will continue working hard to ensure our state'sagriculture priorities are met, particularly as Congress addresses the FarmBill reauthorization next year," Cornyn said.

      FormerHouse Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest provided his thoughts on howthe 2007 Farm Bill debate will unfold in light of the recent changes inCongress and a rapidly evolving legislative and budget landscape. Combest alsonoted that with the unlikelihood of a near-term revival of the WTO Doha Roundtrade talks will also have a tremendous impact on how the new Democraticallycontrolled Congress approaches the Farm Bill debate.

      Combestnoted that prior to the elections extension of the 2002 Farm Bill was thought tobe the best that could be accomplished in 2007.

      Congressionalchanges and increased expectations from interests outside the traditionalcommodity sector, including renewable energy, conservation and fruit andvegetable groups, means that simply extending the current farm bill may now bethe least cost alternative.

      Combestconcluded that there may now be tremendous opportunities to do more than simplyfight to keep the status quo. He noted that Washington's new landscape mayactually provide a framework through which U.S. agriculture can maintain thestrong foundation of the 2002 Farm Bill and also include support in otherareas.

      Wrappingup the program, Representative Mac Thornberry echoed the comments of SenatorCornyn and pointed out the cost-effective nature of the 2002 Farm Bill.Thornberry was among the first members of Congress to file legislation toextend the current legislation.

      PlainsCotton Growers, Inc. (PCG), Texas Wheat Producers Association (TWPA), CornProducers of Texas (CPAT), Texas Grain Sorghum Association (TGSA), and theTexas Peanut Producers Board (TPPB) hosted the symposium, which was held inconjunction with the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show.