India’s 2018/19 cotton outlook has dropped due to drought brought on by delayed monsoon season rains and increased bollworm pest pressure. Parts of Central India, where most of the country’s cotton is grown, are reporting as much as 22 percent less rainfall than normal for this time of year. And although many Indian farmers sow genetically-modified (GM) cotton seeds that should be resistant to the pink bollworm pest, the species is adapting and continues to cause damage to the crop.
The USDA forecasts India’s cotton production at 28.5 million 480-lb bales, down from 29 million last year. Exports are also expected to fall, from 5.1 million 480-lb bales last year to 4.2 million for 2018/19. Although demand for India’s cotton has been high, many traders are unable to sign shipment deals because of weather and production uncertainties. However, if favorable rains arrive soon, there is hope that the cotton crop can rebound.
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