USDA Issues First Survey-based
Production Estimate for 2007 Growing Season

Friday, August 10, 2007                             By Shawn Wade

      The season's first USDAproduction estimate based on in-field surveys shows the 2007 crop is withinstriking distance of the four million bale mark for the fourth straight season,and adds support to the cautiously optimistic stance many growers are taking onthis year's High Plains cotton crop.

      According to the numbersreleased for Texas Agricultural Statistics Service (TASS) crop reportingdistricts 1-N and 1-S, the High Plains has the potential to produce 3.95million bales of cotton from an estimated 2.99 million harvested acres.Projected yield per acre across the region is pegged at 634 pounds per acre.

      Nationally USDA forecasts AllCotton production in the United States at 17.137 million bales and UplandCotton production at 16.5 million bales. USDA estimates Texas will produce 6.1million bales of Upland cotton in 2007.

      This year's initial HighPlains cotton production forecast is 3.95 million bales, a slim 100,000 balesshy of the area's 2006 production level of 4.05 million bales.

      In the August 10 report, TASSalso made slight revisions to the area's planted and harvested acreage figuresthat were released June 30. According to the latest figures, the High Plainsregion appears to have planted 3.2 million acres of cotton and is projected toharvest 2.99 million acres. This provides a current abandonment estimate ofright at 210,000 acres, or 6.5 percent.

      The High Plains region'sestimated 3.2 million planted acres is a 17.5 percent decrease in cottonacreage from the 3.89 million acres planted to the crop in 2006. This year'sinitial 3.2 million cotton acres is also the lowest number of acres initiallyplanted to cotton in the region since the early 1990's.

      Breaking the USDA Crop Reportfor Texas down to the district level shows that district 1-N counties planted600,000 acres, down 40 percent from 2006 plantings of 994,700 acres. Harvestedacres in district 1-N are forecast to be 10 percent below plantings at 540,000acres.

      Yield-wise the northern HighPlains crop appears to be down somewhat as well compared to last year withfield surveys indicating potential yield at 796 pounds per acre, 93 poundsbelow 2006's average yield of 889 pounds.

      It should be no surprise thatmost of the projected production decline in this area is attributable to theshifting of a significant amount of the area's better, irrigated land to graincrops and the slow start many fields experienced. Despite the acreage shiftsand delays, total production in district 1-N is forecast at a respectable895,000 bales.

      Looking south, cottonproducers in district 1-S planted 2.6 million acres according to TASS, anincrease of 110,000 acres from USDA's June Planted Acreage Report. The 2007planted acreage figure is 283,000 acres less than the area 1-S producersplanted to cotton in 2006, a decrease of 10 percent.

      Based on the revised acreageforecast, this months report indicates harvested acres in 1-S will total 2.45million, a difference of 150,000 acres or 5.7 percent. District 1-S yields areforecast at 599 pounds per acre, slightly below the 637 pounds per harvestedacre achieved in 2006.

      Taking into account theimproved moisture situation in the majority of the 1-S production region andthe continuation of favorable weather conditions, district 1-S yields appear tohave the potential to rise to 2006 levels with just a little help from MotherNature.

      As noted in recent weeksthrough a variety of sources, the 2007 crop has the potential to provideanother outstanding result for High Plains cotton producers. Summer-likeconditions punctuated by one or two seasonal rainfall events are the key topushing the 2007 crop over and above USDA's current forecast.

      Whether the region'sprospects increase or diminish are, as usual, dependent on the weather and thepattern that establishes itself between now and late September.

      This week's USDA CropProduction report verifies why there is a lot to optimistic about regarding the2007 crop and sets the stage for measuring its progress from this pointforward.

      Thecounties located in districts 1-N and 1-S, which include most of the countiesin the Texas Panhandle and above the Caprock, closely mirror the composition ofthe 41-county Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. membership area.

Texas Upland Cotton ProductionForecast

August 10, 2007

 

Planted

Harvested

Yield

Production

 

1,000 acres

1,000 acres

Pounds

1,000 bales

District

2006

2007

2006

2007

2006

2007

2006

2007

1-N  

994.7

600.0

850.1

540.0

889

796

1,575.2

895.0

1-S  

2,883.2

2,600.0

1,880.4

2,450.0

637

599

2,497.1

3,055.0

2-N  

426.3

360.0

251.2

340.0

497

544

260.2

385.0

2-S  

548.0

470.0

265.6

450.0

311

501

171.9

470.0

4      

157.9

100.0

156.5

95.0

482

455

157.0

90.0

7      

189.0

160.0

92.8

155.0

679

635

131.2

205.0

8-N  

109.2

60.0

58.7

55.0

885

742

108.2

85.0

8-S  

455.8

330.0

147.1

320.0

716

750

219.4

500.0

9      

236.6

150.0

228.5

145.0

881

612

419.2

185.0

10-S

266.2

100.0

85.4

90.0

687

613

122.3

115.0

Other

133.1

70.0

83.7

60.0

793

920

138.3

115.0

STATE

6,400.0

5,000.0

4,100.0

4,700.0

679

623

5,800.0

6,100.0

Source: USDA National AgriculturalStatistics Service

Texas FSA Receives Clearance To
Initiate Phase 1 of Agency's Office Consolidation Plan

Friday, August 10, 2007                             By Shawn Wade

      The Texas Farm Service Agency(FSA) has announced that Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns' has signed offon the initial portion of Phase I of the organization's office consolidationplan. This initial step in implementing Phase I of the Texas consolidation planwill involve the closure of 13 county offices.

      A total of 25 county officesare targeted for closure and realignment under Phase I of the Texas plan.

      According to Texas FSA StateExecutive Director John Fuston the process to implement Phase I of the planofficially began June 28, but notes that due to the administrative processnecessary to close a county office, no deadline has been set for closingspecific offices.

      Fuston notes, however, thatTexas FSA's initial timeline for the closures would put office operations intargeted counties ceasing in late October 2007.

      Texas FSA is still awaitingfinal approval to proceed with the closure of the remaining 12 offices includedin Phase I of its' restructuring plan.

      Fuston notes that bymid-August producers in affected counties will receive written correspondencefrom FSA leadership regarding available options for selecting another countyoffice in which to conduct FSA business.

      Producers will then have 60days to elect a County they would like to move their business records toanother County office other than the default headquarters location is moreconvenient. After the 60 day window all producer records in the county officeslated for closure will be automatically moved to the new headquarters county.

      Thefollowing list shows the county offices slated for closure and the proposed newheadquarters office location.

County Office (location) Closure:

New Headquarters (location):

Blanco (Johnson City)

Gillespie County (Fredricksburg)

Chambers (Anahuac)

Liberty County (Liberty)

Freestone (Fairfield)

Limestone County (Groesbeck)

Goliad (Goliad)

Refugio County (Refugio)

Hays/Comal (San Marcos)

Caldwell County (Lockhart)

Hood/Somervell (Granbury)

Parker County (Weatherford)

LaSalle (Cotulla)

Frio County (Pearsall)

Leon (Centerville)

Houston County (Crockett)

Madison (Madisonville)

Houston County (Crockett)

Palo Pinto (Mineral Wells)

Parker County (Weatherford)

Jack (Mineral Wells)

Clay County (Henrietta)

Walker (Huntsville)

Brazos County (Bryan)

Washington (Brenham)

Austin County (Bellville)

Zapata (Zapata)

Starr County (Rio Grande City)