The global cotton crop in 2017-18 is expected to be 113.2 million bales, 7 per cent (7.3 million bales) above the 2016-17 estimate, due to a rebound in global area devoted to cotton, according to the US department of agriculture’s (USDA’s) initial projection.
India still remains the leading cotton producer in 2017-18, accounting for 28 million bales of production, or 25 per cent of the world total. India’s output is projected nearly 6 per cent above the 2016-17 crop, as cotton area is expected to increase nearly 10 per cent due to higher cotton prices relative to competing crop prices. Limiting the production increase is a projected yield that is below 2016-17 but still near the 5-year average.
China is forecast to produce 23.5 million bales of cotton in 2017-18, three per cent above the previous season and the largest crop in three years. Area is expected to rise from 2016-17 to 3 million hectares, but will remain relatively low because Government policies have reduced support for cotton farmers while production costs remain high. With area concentrated in the high-yielding Xinjiang region, the 2017-18 national yield is forecast near 2016-17’s record yield of 1,708 kilograms per hectare.
Cotton production in Pakistan, Brazil, and Australia is also forecast to increase in 2017-18. In Pakistan, higher area and an above-average yield are expected to push the crop 10 per cent higher to 8.5 million bales, the largest in three years. For Brazil, increased area is nearly offset by a lower yield, resulting in a crop that is expected to expand three per cent and equal the 2014-15 production. In Australia, production is projected to increase nine per cent in 2017-18 despite a considerable anticipated area reduction; most of the area decline is expected in dryland planting. As a result, the larger share of the Australian crop under irrigation will boost the national yield forecast some 40 per cent in 2017-18.