This week we had the pleasure of hosting a small group of cotton buyers from China. The Commission gave them a brief overview of the US and GA cotton industries. Our main focus was that we produce high quality and very clean cotton. We thank Mr. Ronnie Lee of McCleskey Cotton Company for showing the group his farming and ginning operation. They were impressed with the level of mechanization and efficiency shown in Lee Farms and McCleskey Cotton. It is important for the cotton farmer to remember that despite that fact that China doesn’t import near the amount of cotton that they did several years ago, China was still the largest buyer of US cotton in 2015 with calendar year sales of over $800 million. Vietnam, Turkey, Mexico, and Indonesia round out the top 5 for 2015 export sales destinations for US cotton. For more information, visit GeorgiaCottonCommission.org
Export sales of US cotton in millions of US dollars with associated percent of total sales.
The Georgia Cotton Commission was sent up in our usual spot at the Sunbelt Ag Expo this year. We had many farmers stop by and several elected officials came by as well. Hearing from cotton farmers from across the Southeast has given us a better idea of how the cotton crop is progressing. As we reported before, most of the Georgia crop will be average or below average. Alabama farmers told us they are on track for a better than average year. The Carolinas though have suffered tremendously from Hurricane Matthew. Anecdotal evidence suggest total losses in many areas and over 50% yield loss in other areas of the Carolinas. East and Southeast Georgia cotton farmers have again told us there is a possibility of 50% lint loss in many fields in their area that were affected by Hurricane Matthew. Growers as far west as Pierce county have said the wind from Matthew blew down and twisted a lot of cotton in their county.
Please be sure to stay in good contact with your crop insurance agent for any claims, and your local USDA office will handle any disaster assistance if your county was given disaster declaration.
The GCC and Cotton Board exhibit at the Sunbelt Ag Expo.Our bales were again provided by Funston Gin, and we appreciate their cooperation with our exhibit.
Fortunately for the state’s crop as a whole, Hurricane Matthew only caused damage to the east and southeast corner of the state, but the areas that were affected appear to be heavily damaged. According to producers from the area, and from pictures posted on social media from growers fields in east Georgia, cotton losses range from 20-40% in some fields. Other fields retained their bolls but were blown over and twisted similar to what we reported happened in central-south Georgia after Hurricane Hermine a month ago. In other parts of the state we’ve heard from growers who have been affected by the drought and have experienced below average yields on what cotton has been ginned thus far. Because of these two hurricanes and the drought that preceded them, at best, we can expect a little less than average yield for the Georgia cotton crop as a whole.
GA Farm Monitor has an interview with David Cromley, Bulloch County cotton/peanut farmer and Bill Tyson, Bulloch County Extension Agent here.
GFB posted some pictures that tell the story best. The pictures below are from the GFB Facebook page. All photos below are courtesy of the Georgia Farm Bureau News.
The GA National Fair will be held from October 6th through the 16th in Perry. Inside the GA Grown Building at the fairgrounds you will find a display that features many of the commodities grown in GA, including cotton. Please take the time to visit this exhibit if you are at the fair and learn more about the people and places that make up the GA agricultural industry. Also, from October 18th through the 20th, we will have a tent set up at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie. Please stop by our tent, which is located just past the John Deere display, to learn about the latest happenings in the cotton industry and to pick up some educational materials. As usual, the Sunbelt Ag Expo will feature field demonstrations where you can see the latest production ag equipment in action. Please the take time, and encourage others to take the time, to visit the GA National Fair and Sunbelt Ag Expo this year to learn more about how GA produces some of the best food and fiber in the world.
Additional photo panels have been added at the cotton exhibit at the GA Grown Building. You may recognize some of these folks.