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Cotton industry in the US has always been an important contributor to the country’s economy. As one of the top three cotton producing countries in the world, the US benefits from its enormous cotton planting area in southern and western states, including Texas, California, Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. In fiscal year of 2015-16, the total cotton production in the US totalled 12.9 million bales, declined from previous year’s 16.3 million bales. But with the expanding cotton area planned in the country, the cotton production in the US is expected to rise in 2017.
According to the prediction of the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), the cotton planting area in the United States is expected to expand by 10% to 4.2 million hectares in 2017-18, following a season of higher than expected yields and stable cotton prices. The average yield was up by 12% to 958 kg/ha in 2016-17, which means the production is likely to reach 3.7 million tons by 2017. In 2017-18, production is estimated to increase by 7% to 4 million tons or 14.3 million bales, based on the assumption of an average yield at 935 kg/ha.
Texas is currently the biggest cotton producing state in the US, and its leading position is expected to continue through 2017 as over 200,000 acres extra planting area has been planned for cotton production. Georgia is set to remain as the second largest cotton producing state this year, despite the cotton planting area here will not have a big change. The increasing planting area for cotton production in 2017 has also been reported in North Carolina and Alabama.
When it comes to the cotton export, the USDA suggests that the US cotton export is expected to hit 11.5 million bales in 2016-17, increased by over 13 %, due to expectations for higher U.S. exportable supplies and relatively tight foreign stocks outside of China. With this rise on the cotton export, the United States is likely to account for over 34% of the world trade share in 2016-17, up from 27% in 2015-16, this is also the highest share since 2010-11.
Currently, the major challenges faced by the cotton production in the US are the increasing production costs of labour and land, as well as more and more fierce competition for resources and producing lands with other agricultural crops such as corn and soybeans. To improve the cotton market, the US cotton production is pursing the higher yields mainly driven by the R&D of technological progress, such as greater adoption of bio-tech cotton and seeking substantial potential for cotton production to grow.
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