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Smallest U.S. cotton crop in 13 years due to drought

U.S. cotton growers will harvest a drought-shrunken crop of 12.57 million bales, their smallest since 2009, according to the USDA’s monthly Crop Production report. Texas, the No. 1 producer, would account for nearly all of the nearly 5-million-bale decline in production from last year.

The USDA also forecast a corn crop of 14.4 billion bushels, the fourth-largest on record, and a soybean crop of 4.53 billion bushels, the largest ever. Wheat production was estimated at 1.78 billion bushels, up 8 percent from last year thanks to huge increases in durum and spring wheat.

Texas was forecast to harvest 2.9 million bales of cotton this year, compared to 7.7 million bales in 2021 as U.S. production fell 28 percent, or 12.57 million bales, this year from last year’s 17.52 million bales. Conditions were so poor that growers in Texas were expected to abandon two of every three acres they planted in the spring. Abandonment rates in the Southwest would be “historically high,” said the USDA.

Despite the downturn in the United States, cotton production worldwide was projected to be slightly larger this year than last, 117.01 million bales compared to 115.96 million bales in 2021. A bale of cotton weighs 480 pounds (218 kilograms).

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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