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USA:Cotton Crop may Shrink 13% for 2006, Forecasts USDA

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According to United States Dpartment of Agricultures (USDA) first estimate for 2006/07, U.S. cotton production is projected at 20.7 million bales, 13 percent below the 2005/06 record.

Based on Prospective Plantings of USDA, cotton area for the 2006 crop is forecast at 14.6 million acres, about 3 percent above final 2005 acreage.

Harvested area, estimated at 12.9 million acres, is based on U.S. average abandonment during 1996-2003, as unusually low abandonment occurred during the past 2 years.

The U.S. yield of 770 pounds per harvested acre is based on the past 4-year national average. Based on these projections, the 2006 U.S. cotton crop would be near the average of the previous four seasons.

As of May 7th, U.S. cotton plantings were 44 percent complete, compared with 38 percent last year and the 5-year average of 41 percent.

While slightly above on a national basis, the progress of individual States has varied, including Missouri, Arizona, and California?where plantings have been delayed this year?and Georgia, Arkansas, and Alabama?where progress is running well ahead of 2005.

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