2020 County Production Cotton Figures ReleasedTue, 18 May 2021 10:03:25 CDT
Mother Nature wasn’t very kind to the Texas High Plains during the 2020 crop year, as dry conditions throughout the season contributed to a higher level of abandonment, especially in non-irrigated cotton and ended with a large portion of the region in extreme drought.
It is estimated that cotton growers in the PCG service area produced between 2.2-2.3 million bales in 2020, which is below the historical average. The reason that total is not more exact is the result of a change in policy by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service which discontinued the publication of crop reporting district level data beginning with the 2020 production season. The end result is that any county that does not meet publication criteria is now simply left unreported and there is no attempt to quantify the amount of unreported county level data to the district level.
This is a significant issue in a state as large as Texas that has significantly different production windows and can see vastly different crop outcomes from one part of the state to another in the same growing season. Under this revised NASS policy, the Texas Upland cotton production number totals 4.57 million bales, but the total for reported counties is only 4,159,340 bales – a difference of 418,660 bales.
Getting back to the 2020 High Plains production totals, reported county figures total just over 1.94 million bales which, if the previously mentioned 2.2-2.4 million bales is accurate, means that 200,000-300,000 bales of that unreported production is likely cotton produced within PCG’s 42-county service area.
Planted acreage in the PCG counties reported by NASS in 2020 totals 4,114,600 acres. Certified acreage data for the PCG service area available through the USDA Farm Service Agency shows that a total of 4,319,084 Upland cotton acres were planted last year, a difference of 204,484 acres.
A larger discrepancy exists in the harvested acres reported by NASS that totals 1,624,600 acres for the PCG area compared to the USDA FSA certified acreage data that indicates 2,159,237 acres were harvested. A startling difference of 534,637 acres, but one that is likely exacerbated by the fact that not all producers report failed acres to FSA after a crop loss occurs.
Either way the differences in the numbers makes it difficult to determine exactly what the PCG service area’s actual acreage abandonment percentage really was for 2020. It seems likely that since USDA NASS cross checks its survey data information against both USDA FSA acreage data and USDA Risk Management Agency information, that the 39.5 percent abandonment figure is too low and that the actual number is closer to the 50 percent value derived from the January FSA Certified acreage report.
According to the final county level production estimates, along with some guesswork on what percentage of the state’s unreported production was most likely produced in the Plains Cotton Growers 42-county service area, points to the area accounting for approximately 50 percent of the 4.57 million bales of Upland cotton produced in Texas this past season. To compare, the Texas High Plains usually produces closer to 60 percent of the state’s crop.
Statewide production was down 28 percent from 2019, although because there was a higher percentage of acres abandoned in 2020 the statewide average yield per harvested acre of 686 pounds is actually higher than 2019’s 589 pound average.
On a national basis, Texas growers accounted for 32.5 percent of the 14 million upland bales produced in the United States in 2020, easily maintaining their position as the No. 1 cotton producing state in the nation. Georgia was second with 2.18 million bales, and Arkansas was third with 1.277 million bales.
Lubbock County was the top-producing county on the High Plains with 203,500 480-pound bales of cotton and averaging 585 pounds per harvested acre. Lynn County was second with 186,200 bales, and Floyd County third at 178,000. Overall yield per harvested acre on the High Plains based on the available NASS data averaged 575 pounds in 2020, up from 506 in 2019.
Joining, Lubbock, Lynn and Floyd counties in the top ten cotton-producing counties in the High Plains Region (reported in 480-lb bales) were: Hale, 148,000; Crosby, 135,000; Hockley, 120,000; Lamb, 89,000; Gaines, 87,500; Dawson, 82,000; and Terry, 67,000.
As for yield, Hartley County ranked at the top for 2020, averaging 1,226 pounds per harvested acre. Carson County was second in yield per harvested acre at 1,000 pounds.
A complete listing of the 2020 upland cotton production totals for Texas and other states is available on the NASS website (http://www.nass.usda.gov).
2020 PCG Service Area Production
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