Cotton growers in virus limbo

Hundreds of millions of people are staying home

Share Adjust Comment Print

Uncertainty surrounding the spread of coronavirus has Texas cotton producers in limbo regarding their crop options for 2020, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

John Robinson, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension cotton marketing specialist, College Station, said cotton prices have been dropping due to the disease’s effects on global production, manufacturing and consumption.

The ripple effect of coronavirus on the global supply chain and U.S. imports and exports is spreading, he said.

“The human toll is evident, but there’s also a lot of disruption to commerce, including to cotton,” Robinson said. “You’ve got hundreds of millions of people in Asia who are staying at home. That affects everything from ships not being unloaded to textile manufacturing and consumption.”

The National Cotton Council’s prospective planting surveys suggested growers would plant 13 million acres of cotton in 2020, but prices have plunged since.

Prices fell 3-4 cents per pound in a week as the U.S. stock market dropped 1,000 points per day for three consecutive days, he said. On Feb. 27, cotton futures were down to 64 cents per pound.

Robinson said the average producer needs cotton futures prices to be around the mid-70 cent mark for any possibility of profit.

Comments