NASS reduces High Plains production estimates

October 18, 2017

The National Agricultural Statistics Service decreased High Plains upland cotton production estimates by 255,000 bales from their September report, projecting that area growers will produce 5,440,000 bales this season.

The Southern High Plains area saw a bit more of a reduction, from 3.485 million bales in September down to 3,330,000 bales in the October report. Northern High Plains estimates were down by 100,000 bales to 2,110,000.

Projected yield per acre decreased slightly in both regions. The Northern High Plains went from 911 pounds in the September estimate to 877 pounds in the October estimate, and the Southern High Plains went from 715 to 689.

Harvested acres were adjusted slightly downward from the September report. Growers on the Northern High Plains are projected to harvest 1,155,000 acres of cotton, while Southern High Plains growers are expected to harvest 2,320,000 acres. Projected abandonment rate for the High Plains region remains at about 20 percent.

Statewide, the production number dropped to 9 million bales, down 300,000 from the 9.3 million in the September report. The nationwide estimate for upland cotton is 20.4 million bales, down slightly from an estimated 21 million in the September report but up 23 percent from 2016. December futures settled lower on Thursday after the report, closing at 67.84 cents.

Most producers were able to breathe a sigh of relief this week as temperatures, for a great majority of the area, fortunately did not dip below freezing. Although some growers are beginning harvest, a significant amount of cotton on the Texas High Plains still needs additional heat units to finish at a greater potential.

The cool, cloudy weather has affected development, with one grower northwest of Lubbock sharing on social media that he cut a boll earlier this week and the cotton had made zero progress in the previous two weeks.  Lubbock’s first freeze usually occurs around October 31, and current forecasts indicate highs mostly in the 70s and 80s and low ranging anywhere from the upper 30s to the low 60s over the next several days.

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has made their 2017 High Plains Cotton Harvest-Aid Guide available. A link to the guide is at

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Category: Agriculture