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Texas Heat Wave Could Slash Cotton Production, Gro Predicts

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A record heat wave scorching much of Texas is threatening the state’s agricultural harvests. Cotton, which is Texas’ largest planted area crop, could see the biggest production decline in more than a decade, Gro predicts.

Gro’s vegetative health index for the Texas cotton crop is mirroring that of 2011 — the driest year in recent history — due to the extreme hot and dry growing season. While acres planted to Texas cotton are up 4.4% from last year, Gro expects this won’t be enough to offset this season’s poor growing conditions, depressing cotton production. 

In 2011, similar growing conditions cut Texas cotton production by 55% year over year, driven by high abandoned acres and a 16% decline in yields. Texas is the largest US cotton producing state, bringing producers roughly $2 billion in farm cash receipts in an average year. 

Gro’s Drought Index, weighted to highlight Texas’ cotton-growing areas using the Gro Climate Risk Navigator for Agriculture, is showing readings at the “extreme” drought level for the past week. In addition, soil moisture levels are the lowest in more than a decade, with little rain in the near-term forecast. Gro expects these difficult growing conditions will increase the number of abandoned acres when Texas harvests its cotton crop in September, as Gro wrote about here

View a display of growing conditions for the Texas cotton crop in Gro’s Climate Risk Navigator here, or schedule a demo with our sales team here to learn how Climate Risk Navigator can be tailored to your organization’s needs.

Growing conditions for Texas’ cotton crop have worsened amid a record heat wave. This chart from Gro’s Climate Risk Navigator for Agriculture shows that Gro’s vegetative health index for Texas cotton (red line) is similar to that of 2011 (blue line), the driest year in recent history.

Temperatures have exceeded historical averages in many parts of Texas this year. This display from the Gro Portal shows daily temperature differences versus the 10-year mean for Lubbock, Texas, a major cotton growing region. 

A significant drop in cotton production in Texas, the largest US cotton producing state, would impact global cotton supplies since the US is the largest cotton exporter. Worldwide cotton production is expected to slightly increase in 2022/23, mainly on gains in China and India. Although exports from the US and India are seen lower, this should be offset by expected higher exports from Brazil and Australia. 

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