Cotton Planting Continues on High Plains;

Rain Needed, Prices Hovering Lower

Friday, June 1, 2012          By Mary Jane Buerkle

      Cotton planting has been in full swing for a couple of weeks now as producers across the High Plains continue to battle dry conditions.

      Recent rains have boosted topsoil moisture in some areas but subsoil moisture levels remain short. Although so far 2012 has been more promising than 2011, growers will need rain over the next few weeks to firmly establish this year's cotton crop, especially in dryland fields.

      The May 31 final plant date for federal crop insurance purposes has passed for the northern portions of the PCG service area, so planting is essentially 100% complete. The central part of the region has until June 5, and as of today is estimated to be about 80% planted. Southern parts have until June 10 and have planted about two-thirds of their acreage. Some areas to the south and east of the Caprock have until June 20 to finish planting.

      Unfortunately, cotton prices have declined over the past few weeks after the release of the USDA May supply/demand numbers on May 10. December '12 futures were just over 83 cents on May 9 and as of Thursday morning, May 31, were hovering around 70 cents.

      Dr. John Robinson, professor and Extension economist in cotton marketing at Texas A&M University, said that although prices have been sliding downward since April, the past week reflected what he believes is a "bottoming out" of that decline.

      "What's been affecting cotton prices, I think, is mostly these outside forces that have been affecting all of the markets," Robinson said, noting especially Europe's financial crisis. "All of those countries' problems have been spilling over into the stock market and affecting commodity markets. (The cause) hasn't been anything specific to cotton but it's been weighing on cotton as much as anything."

      The National Weather Service forecasts a slight chance of thunderstorms this weekend for most parts of the High Plains.


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2012 PIE Program Tours Set

Friday, June 1, 2012          From the National Cotton Council

      The NCC has scheduled dates and locations for the 2012 Producer Information Exchange (PIE) Program. Sponsored by Bayer CropScience through a grant to The Cotton Foundation, the program is now in its 24th year of helping its US cotton producer participants improve yields and fiber quality.

      This season, Southeast producers will see operations in California on July 22-27; Southwest producers will travel to Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri on July 29-Aug. 3; Far West producers will visit North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia on Aug. 5-10; and Mid-South producers will tour West Texas and South Texas on Aug. 19-24.

      The PIE program enables cotton producers to improve yields and fiber quality along with boosting their overall operational efficiency by: 1) gaining new perspectives in such fundamental practices as land preparation, planting, fertilization, pest control, irrigation and harvesting; and 2) observing firsthand the unique ways in which their innovative peers are using new and existing technology.

      Upon completion of this year's four tours, the PIE program will have exposed more than 1,000 U.S. cotton producers to innovative production practices in regions different than their own.


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"Cotton Days" Celebrate U.S. Cotton

Throughout Asia

Friday, June 1, 2012          From Cotton Council International

      Cotton Council International (CCI) and Cotton Incorporated's annual "Cotton Day" celebrations throughout Asia were the most successful to date, with approximately 1,000 industry representatives in attendance and more than $10 million in earned advertising value. The events in Thailand, Taiwan, Korea and Japan highlighted U.S. cotton and featured industry leaders, press interviews and celebrities.

      Cotton Day Thailand kicked off CCI's Teddy Bear Ambassador campaign, enlisting COTTON USA licensees and 27 brands. Participating brands will display 5,000 bears, made with 100 percent U.S. cotton materials donated by local mills, at retail stores throughout Bangkok. The U.S. Ambassador to Thailand spoke at the event and wore a 100 percent U.S. cotton dress.

      Cotton Day Taiwan featured a TV commercial launch by singer-songwriter Fan Fan and a sold-out concert for the performer SHOW. More than 30 television outlets reported the event.

      Cotton Day Korea enlisted a top designer and celebrity to display "Cotton Contemporary," a vision of cotton as high fashion on the runway. Cotton Day Korea also featured a fashion show featuring three brands. Media coverage of the event is expected to reach several million in U.S. dollar equivalent value. In addition, the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea hosted a dinner for top Korean executives and the CCI/Cotton

Incorporated delegation.

      Cotton Day Japan featured three celebrities who received awards for their contributions to cotton promotion. In addition, Miwa, CCI Japan's spokesperson, sang her newest single "Cotton Season" for more than 250 industry members in attendance.