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Price swings and new disease put strain on S.C. cotton growers

Excerpt from:  Denise Attaway, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences; Public Service and Agriculture

SANTEE – One thing many farmers know for certain is that nothing is certain right now.

During the South Carolina Cotton Growers Meeting held here recently, Clemson Extension economist Nathan Smith told growers that despite stable demand for cotton worldwide, fluctuations in yields, prices and international trade have the potential to create stress for both producers and users.

“United States’ exports are projected to increase,” Smith said. “Even with more exports, however, we could see an increase in U.S. stocks due to higher production in 2019.”

Higher production and ending stocks going into 2020 for the United States led economists to forecast a season-average price of 63 cents per pound, Smith said.

While U.S. exports to China have decreased, markets in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Pakistan and Turkey have grown. But Brazil’s market share also has increased, further depressing cotton prices in the U.S. Reports show cotton prices will be volatile depending on acreage reports, crop conditions and weather.

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