Pima looking best in the West

Although Pima acreage did not surpass Upland in California’s San Joaquin Valley this year as some had predicted, it is ahead in projected average yield.

And there’s good Pima news out of Arizona, once the dominant Pima state. Arizona’s USDA NASS branch has put a solid number on the reported increase in Pima acreage there, presumably due to the implementation of a pink bollworm eradication program in Central Arizona.

There is no worm-resistant Pima varieties and the threat of pink bollworm has discouraged growers there from producing ELS cotton for many years. The downward acreage trend for Pima has been reversed this year with the PBW eradication program.

American-Pima cotton harvested acreage is estimated at 7,000 acres this season, 2,900 acres more than last year’s 4,000 acres. Pima yield, at 891 pounds per acre, is up 71 pounds from a year ago.

Admittedly the 13,000 bales expected from Arizona this year is paltry compared to California’s American Pima production forecast of 790,000 bales from 288,000 bales, but it could be the start of a Pima rebound in Arizona if the PBW eradication effort proves successful. Pima prices of well above $1 per pound compared to upland prices of about half that have producers banking on PBW’s demise in the state.

The second biggest reason American Pima production shifted from Arizona to California is yields proved substantially higher in California and that is still the case, but Arizona may catch up with a host new high-yielding varieties that have been developed in California but largely untested commercially in Arizona.

California Pima yields are projected to average 1,317 pounds per acre, higher than the projected average for California upland. Total California Pima production is projected to be up 42 percent from last year. The 891 projected for Arizona still lags woefully behind the California Pima average, but this is the first year for a potential Central Arizona Pima comeback.

Upland cotton production in California is forecast at 830,000 bales, a decrease of 22 percent from last year. Harvested acreage is estimated at 308,000 acres, resulting in a projected yield of 1,294 pounds per acre.

Arizona’s upland cotton harvested acreage is estimated at 218,000 acres, down 11,000 acres or 5 percent from a year ago. Yield is forecast at 1,321 pounds per acre, 32 pounds higher than the yield in 2005. Production is forecast at 600,000 bales, down 2 percent from last year.

Harvest is just getting started in underway in the Yuma area, which always is the first Western cotton to the gin. Yields there are expected to be down sharply due to excessive heat-related shed.

California experienced its own mid-summer heat wave when temperatures soared above 110 degrees for more than a week. It reduced yields, but reports indicate it did not hurt as badly a longer string of less hotter, but more days over 100 last year.

At the U.S. level, all cotton production is forecast at 20.4 million bales, down 14 percent from last year's record high 23.9 million bales. Yield is expected to average 765 pounds per harvested acre, down 66 pounds from 2005. Upland cotton production is forecast at 19.5 million 480-pound bales, 16 percent below 2005. American-Total Pima production from California, Arizona, New Mexico and Far West Texas is forecast at a high 893,000 bales, up 42 percent from last year.

Producers expect to harvest 12.8 million acres of all cotton and 12.5 million acres of upland cotton, a decrease of 7 percent and 8 percent from last year, respectively. American-Pima harvested area is expected to total 333,000 acres, 64,400 more than in 2005.

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