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US Cotton Production Expected to Reach Highest in 14 Years

U.S. cotton output may swing back to the highest since 2005.

The 2019-2020 U.S. crop will expand to 21.8 million bales from 18.4 million the previous season, according to the average estimate among analysts surveyed by Bloomberg ahead of the U.S. World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report. The USDA is scheduled to release the report Friday at noon in Washington. A bale weighs 480 pounds (218 kilograms).

U.S. & World Cotton Production, Inventory Survey Before WASDE

In March, the USDA forecast that cotton acres would dip to 13.8 million for the 2019-2020 season from 14.1 million a year earlier. Still, anecdotal evidence in states including Texas and Oklahoma suggests the fiber will be sown on 14 million acres nationally, according to John Robinson, a professor of agricultural economics at Texas A&M University.

Relatively low prices for competing crops and rainy weather causing planting delays for corn may make the fiber an attractive alternative, said Robinson, who estimates U.S. cotton production will reach 23 million bales.

Reporting by Shruti Date Singh and Dominic Carey.