February Numbers Reflect Strong Prices and

Lagging Pace of Shipments For 2011 Crop

Friday, April 13, 2012                                    By Shawn Wade

      USDA numbers, after seven months of the 2011 Upland cotton marketing year, show just more than 8.1 million bales of the 2011 crop have been sold and shipped, approximately 55 percent of the forecast 2011 Upland crop of 14.8 million bales. Through February 2012 the Upland cotton market year average price received by growers sits at an estimated 91.23 cents per pound.

      Total marketings are significantly lower than observed at the same point last year; the latest numbers show the 2011 crop moving at a relatively normal pace.

      While shipments may be lagging a bit, prices certainly are not. Through February the estimate for weighted average price received is almost a full 10 cents per pound higher than the 81.37-cent average price reported through the same time period last year based on data published by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service on March 30, 2012.

      Overall this marketing season, the month of December 2011 marks the high point for shipments at 1.965 million bales. February marketings were reported at 858,000 bales.

      USDA estimated the average selling price for cotton marketed during the month of February 2012 at 92.4 cents per pound. The preliminary mid-month price reported for March 2012 was slightly higher at 93.60 cents per pound. December's 88.5 cent average price also marks the low point for prices and is the only month to dip below the 90 cent mark.

      The following table shows the average price received each month by farmers and the associated weighted average price based on prices and cumulative marketings reported from August 1, 2011 through February 29, 2012. The 2011 cotton marketing year began in August 1, 2011 and ends July 31, 2012.

Average Price Received For 2011-crop Upland Cotton
(Weighted by Marketings)





(000's of Running bales)







August '11





Sept '11





October '11





November '11





December '11





January '12





February '12





March '12





Source: National Agricultural Statistics Service; * = preliminary


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Enrollment Opens for Texas

International Cotton School

      Registration is now open for the 32nd Texas International Cotton School, scheduled for August 6-17, 2012, in Lubbock.

      The intensive two-week program covers all aspects of cotton, from the field to the fabric. Since its inception, the school has been a collaboration between the Texas cotton merchants who make up the Lubbock Cotton Exchange and the faculty and staff of Texas Tech's Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute.

      "Those interested should register early, because the class size is limited and last year's class was near the maximum that can be handled in our facilities," said Dean Ethridge, managing director of the Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute. "The size and diversity of the class stimulates learning and results in friendships that may extend years into the future."

      During the two weeks of the school, more than 30 experts from across the United States instruct the students, who learn about the cotton marketing chain – including seed breeding, farm production, harvesting, ginning, warehousing, merchandising, and textile manufacturing. All aspects of U.S. and global trade of cotton are covered, so the students obtain an understanding of what is required to successfully participate in the U.S. cotton market and to deliver the cottons needed in diverse export markets. They learn about the important quality attributes of cotton fibers and how these translate into processing efficiency and textile product quality. Throughout the program, they have repeated opportunities to interact with the cotton merchants of the Lubbock Cotton Exchange and the fiber and textile experts of Texas Tech University.

      For more information, including tuition and curriculum, visit http://www.texasintlcottonschool.com or call Christi Chadwell, TICS coordinator, at (806) 742-2838 Ext. 233.



Cotton Incorporated Employs New Faces in

"Fabric of My Life" Commercials

      For years, The Fabric of Our Lives song featured in Cotton Incorporated's advertising has connected consumers to the ways cotton is ingrained in our everyday lives. More recently, Cotton Incorporated has utilized up-and-coming celebrities to share the message that cotton is the "Fabric of My Life". This year, two new celebrities are being featured in the commercials showcasing a typical day for them in the cities they call home.

      Singer and actress Emmy Rossum, New York native and star of the cinematic adaption of the Broadway hit musical "Phantom of the Opera," uses the Big Apple as the backdrop for her commercial. While actress Camilla Belle's spot highlights her Brazilian roots in her hometown of Los Angeles. The fact that these cities are also two fashion capitals of the United States serves the dual purpose of showing that cotton is fashionable and a hometown fabric - no matter where you live.    

Chairman of The Cotton Board John Clark, an importer from California, said this after previewing the two new spots, "Cotton Incorporated has again done a great job showcasing cotton as a high-fashion, yet comfortable and familiar fabric. I know the new commercials will keep cotton at the forefront of consumers' minds, resulting in benefits for cotton producers and importers alike, through increased sales of cotton apparel."

      Concurrent with the new commercials' first broadcast on April 9, a series of campaign-related digital assets will roll out on the cotton consumer website, which can be found at http://www.thefabricofourlives.com. These include a multimedia tour of Emmy Rossum's closet; a blog by Camilla Belle; behind-the-scenes footage and still images from the shoots; celebrity bios and interviews; and audio and lyric downloads of the new cotton songs.


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Researchers: Timing Critical When Watering

High Plains Cotton

Friday, April 13, 2012             By Steve Byrns, AgriLife TODAY

      In semiarid farming regions where every drop of water counts, Texas AgriLife Research scientists say timing the application of available water is becoming more critical when it comes to irrigating cotton.

      Jim Bordovsky, research scientist and agricultural engineer with AgriLife Research at Halfway, is collaborating on a project with Drs. Dana Porter and Jeff Johnson, Lubbock-based Texas AgriLife Extension Service agricultural engineering specialist and AgriLife Research economist, respectively.

      They recently completed the second year of a study to optimize water-use efficiency, lint yield and fiber quality of cotton under limited water conditions by evaluating a combination of irrigation amounts during different growth periods using Low Energy Precision Application or LEPA irrigation.

      Bordovsky said the growth periods used in the study are generally described as: vegetative – from planting until very early bloom; reproductive – early bloom to just past peak bloom; and maturation – bloom to initial boll maturity. Their overall objective was to improve water efficiency in the semiarid Texas High Plains region by learning when a cotton crop responds best to combinations of limited and adequate water.

      "Our irrigation water comes from the declining Ogallala Aquifer, where its availability for a given field can change dramatically within a single growing season," Bordovsky said. "Shortages also occur when producers must divert water from cotton and give it to another crop, because that crop has reached a critical growth stage or simply because it's worth more. Abrupt changes could also occur if irrigation wells are lost or annual irrigation volumes imposed by regulatory mandates are reached before the end of the growing season."

      Bordovsky said wise planning of irrigation based on a farm's underground water resources, available water allowances and the region's erratic rainfall will go a long way toward High Plains producers being productive in coming years.

      "In situations where available water can't meet the needs of the plant throughout the growing season, the irrigation-research community has recommended and producers have generally followed the practice of 'banking water' or attempting to partially fill the soil profile with preplant and/or early-season irrigations in April through June," Bordovsky said.

      "While a full profile is very desirable and preplant irrigation is absolutely necessary in some years, our work indicates that under potential water constraints, the strategy of filling the profile by irrigation may need to change or at least be tempered for irrigated cotton."

      That's because with typically high wind speeds, high air temperatures and low humidity in the spring, it's extremely difficult to retain early applied water in the soil until the time cotton plants really need it in July and August, he explained.

      "In addition, early season water applications exceeding crop water demand can be lost through evaporation or excessive plant growth, which translates to non-productive water use and the potential of running out of restricted water units before the end of the growing season."

      Bordovsky and his team gathered data from two very different years with record-breaking extremes, high rainfall in 2010 and the drought of 2011, and saw similar results when irrigation timing was considered.

      During the record-setting drought of 2011, research results indicated trying to store water in the soil profile in excess of the cotton plant's evapotranspiration rate during the month of June was ineffective. That was the second year of the study, but the 2010 data collected during a wet year indicated the same thing.

      So when is the best time to water?

      Based on results to date, Bordovsky said producers should ensure they have irrigation available in the reproductive and early maturation periods of cotton development. In this study, water applications resulted in more than 100 pounds of cotton fiber per acre-inch of irrigation during these latter periods compared to less than 20 pounds per acre-inch from water applied above the crop water demand during the vegetative or "water banking" period.

      "Additional field tests should provide the foundation for in-season irrigation recommendations for producers with specific irrigation volumes and irrigation capacities," Bordovsky said. "We hope that the eventual findings will help High Plains cotton producers optimize their total water use when faced with limited water volumes."

      Bordovsky said this research is supported in part by the Texas State Support Committee of Cotton Incorporated and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service Ogallala Aquifer Program, a consortium among the U.S. Department of Agricultural Research Service, Kansas State University, AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension, Texas Tech University and West Texas A&M University.

      For more information contact Bordovsky at 806-746-6101, j-bordovsky@tamu.edu.