USDA Long-Term Projections to 2024: Cotton

    Below are highlights from USDA’s long-term agricultural projections on U.S. cotton, prepared during October through December 2014, with the Agricultural Act of 2014 assumed to remain in effect through the projection period.

    The scenario presented in this report is not a USDA forecast about the future. Instead, it is a conditional, longrun scenario about what would be expected to happen under a continuation of current farm legislation and other specific assumptions. See complete USDA pdf for charts, more U.S. Crop Info – Page 53


    Planted area for major field crops in the United States is projected to decline over the next several years as U.S. and global supplies rebound from relatively low levels in recent years and prices decline for most crops. As a consequence of the associated lower producer returns, U.S. planted acreage for 8 major crops (corn, sorghum, barley, oats, wheat, rice, upland cotton, and soybeans) is projected to fall from a 2012-14 average of about 257 million acres to about 246 million in 2017.

    Over the longer run, steady global economic growth provides a foundation for strong crop demand. Combined with some further expansion of global biofuel production and continued weakness of the dollar, overall projections indicate longer run gains in world consumption and trade of crops. Although crop prices are projected to be below highs of recent years, they remain above pre-2007 levels.

    Eight-crop plantings in the United States remain steady near 246 million acres during the second half of the projections, with increasing yields providing most of the gains in U.S. production. Farm programs of the Agricultural Act of 2014 are assumed to be extended through the projection period. Acreage enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is assumed at levels slightly below the legislated maximum of 24 million acres.


    Upland cotton plantings are projected to fall below 10 million acres in 2015 as lower prices reduce producer returns. Acreage then increases slowly over the next decade as rising prices and improved returns provide incentives to expand. Mill use and exports of U.S. upland cotton are projected to rise moderately.

    • A decline in U.S. mill use of cotton since the late 1990s reflected a gradual, long-term movement of spinning capacity to developing countries. Continued increases in U.S. imports of apparel from Asia will reduce domestic apparel production and lower the apparel industry’s demand for fabric and yarn produced in the United States. However, U.S. mill use is projected to grow somewhat over the next decade in response to rising demand for U.S. textile product exports (such as fabric and yarn), mainly to other countries in the Western Hemisphere.
    • Nonetheless, even with this growth, domestic mill use is projected to represent only about 28 percent of total U.S. disappearance of upland cotton over the projection period, down from more than 60 percent in the late 1990s.
    • U.S. upland cotton exports are projected to rise marginally throughout the projection period. The United States remains the world’s largest exporter of cotton, although the U.S. share of global cotton trade falls to 21 percent by 2024/25, compared to an average of more than 37 percent in 2000-10. Brazil, India, Australia, and Pakistan gain market share of global cotton exports. China is the world’s largest importer of cotton, accounting for more than 40 percent of global imports by 2024/25 and over 76 percent of global import growth from 2015/16 to 2024/25.

      Photo by ©Debra L Ferguson

      Photo by ©Debra L Ferguson

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