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April 2017 Cotton Leader

April 30th, 2017

Leave Comfort to Clothes

Cotton Incorporated’s Consumer Marketing Division has announced the launch of a new consumer-directed advertising campaign, Leave Comfort to Clothes. 

“The ‘Leave Comfort to Clothes’ campaign leverages consumers’ strong connection between cotton and comfort and inspires them to rethink the way they view comfort,” says Jill Orsini, Cotton Incorporated’s Director of Advertising. 

“The comfort doesn’t come from the softness of cotton but from the strength the consumer exudes. This comfort is courage which goes beyond the physical; it is inner strength. When people feel comfortable, they’re better – more confident, more productive, happier, and more likely to express how they feel. This campaign is challenging people to be fearless in their thoughts and actions and to get out of their comfort zones. The message is for consumers to leave comfort to the clothes, where the softness, durability, ease of care, and versatility go with them no matter where they go or what they do,” said Orsini.

The campaign aims to reach women and men 18-49 and extends beyond TV to digital custom content. Digital media will build awareness for the new campaign, educate the consumer on cotton’s benefits, and encourage them to check the label and shop cotton.

Advanced Genome Sequence will Advance Fiber, Food, and Fuel Applications for Cotton

A consortium led by Z. Jeffrey Chen of The University of Texas at Austin and Jane Grimwood and Jeremy Schmutz of the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology has made publicly available a significantly improved high-quality genome sequence of Upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum). This sequence of the species making up greater than 90% of the world's spinnable cotton fiber builds upon previous genome sequences published in the past five years.

"This genome sequence will significantly advance cotton research to increase competiveness with synthetic fibers and is a major step forward in developing a gold standard assembly," said Professor Chen. The other lead collaborator, Jane Grimwood, said "this sequence used a new strategy to sequence a tetraploid genome by applying a combination of short read sequencing from Illumina, with long read PACBIO technology and a dense resequencing based genetic map".

Cotton production contributes significantly to the US economy, and collaborative projects such as this help increase knowledge to enable breeders to develop varieties with improved yield, fiber quality, and stress tolerance. Don Jones, Director of Agricultural Research at Cotton Incorporated, said this sequence is another advancement for improving the sustainability of cotton production. "This accomplishment facilitates deeper understanding of cotton biology that leads to higher yield and improved fiber while reducing inputs needed to produce the crop." Growers, the textile industry, and eventually consumers will ultimately derive benefit from successes such as this.

This research was achieved under multi-institutional partnerships, including The University of Texas, HudsonAlpha Institute, Texas A&M University, Clemson University Institute for Translational Genomics, and USDA-ARS in Stoneville, Mississippi. Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation Plant Genome Research Program and Cotton Incorporated. This is another example of the synergy that can be created to deliver innovation in cotton that will improve the sustainability and economic value from the basic research to the farm and consumer.

thrips webcast

Thrips Infestation Predictor Tool to Help Cotton Growers Prevent Seedling Damage

Tobacco thrips populations fluctuate in size from year to year and can cause significant damage to cotton seedlings by slowing growth and making the plant more vulnerable to future environmental stress. 

A new Focus on Cotton webcast titled “Thrips Infestation Predictor for Cotton: An Online Tool for Informed Thrips Management” helps cotton growers, consultants, and other industry experts schedule planting dates and insecticide treatments to reduce the severity of damage caused by early season thrips dispersals.

This 12-minute talk by George G. Kennedy, Professor at North Carolina State University, provides information that helps users:  

  • Identify planting dates that pose a lower risk of thrips injury
  • Compare relative risk for a specific location to past years
  • Prioritize scouting and insecticide treatments across fields

These and other resources are freely available courtesy of Cotton Incorporated at presentation is available at no charge, courtesy of Cotton Incorporated, through the ‘Focus on Cotton’ webcast resource located at the Plant Management Network,  ‘Focus on Cotton’ contains over 35 webcasts on various aspects of cotton crop management. These talks--freely accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week--cover agronomic practices, crop protection, and ag engineering.  This resource also features a new and improved Cotton Extension Search tool, where users can conveniently search for extension resources across all U.S. land-grant universities serving cotton producers.  

April Economic Update


Most benchmark prices decreased over the past month.

  • The May NY futures contract declined from values near 79 cents/lb a month ago to those below 75 cents/lb recently.
  • As the May contract has approached expiration, the July contract has picked up a larger share of open interest. Prices for the July contract have been consistently trading at a higher level than those for May, but July futures also lost ground over the past month, falling from levels near 80 cents/lb to those around 76 cent/lb.As the May contract has approached expiration, the July contract has picked up a larger share of open interest. Prices for the July contract have been consistently trading at a higher level than those for May, but July futures also lost ground over the past month, falling from levels near 80 cents/lb to those around 76 cent/lb.
  • The A Index also declined several cents over the past month, dropping from levels over 88 cents/lb to those below 85 cents/lb.
  • The China Cotton (CC) Index has been comparatively stable, holding to levels around 104 cents/lb in international terms or around 15,900 RMB/ton in domestic terms.
  • After declining throughout much of March, Chinese futures have been flat to slightly higher in early April. Values for the most actively traded September ZCE futures contract have been near 15,500 RMB/ton recently, after falling from levels over 16,600 RMB in early March.
  • Due in part to a strengthening rupee, values for the Indian Shankar-6 variety increased in international terms over the past month, rising from 83 cents/lb to 85 cents/lb. In domestic terms, values were flat to lower, generally holding to levels between 43,000 and 44,000 INR/maund.
  • Pakistani prices were stable. In international terms, values held near 78 cents/lb. In domestic terms, values held near 6,750 PKR/candy.


This month's USDA report featured slight increases to world production and mill-use.

The global harvest estimate was lifted 585,000 bales (from 105.7 to 106.3 million). The increase at the world-level was primarily a result of larger crop estimates in China (+250,000 bales, from 22.5 to 22.8 million) and Brazil (+200,000 bales, from 6.5 million to 6.7 million) outweighing a decrease in the forecast for Australia (-100,000 bales, from 4.5 to 4.4 million).

The global mill-use figure was increased 161,000 bales, from 112.4 to 112.6 million. At the country-level, the largest revisions included those for Uzbekistan (+150,000 bales, from 1.6 to 1.7 million), Pakistan (+100,000 bales, from 10.2 to 10.3 million), Thailand (+100,000 bales, from 1.2 to 1.3 million), and Bangladesh (-200,000, from 6.7 to 6.5 million).

With the increase in global production larger than the increase in mill-use, world ending stocks are projected to be higher than they were a month ago (+400,000 bales, from 90.5 to 90.9 million). A portion of this additional supply is expected to originate in China (+250,000 bales, from 48.9 to 49.1 million), but estimates for ending stocks were also revised higher in a range of exporting countries, including India (+600,000 bales, from 11.9 to 12.5 million), Brazil (+225,000, from 7.0 to 7.2 million), and Australia (+100,000 bales, from 2.4 to 2.5 million).

These additions to exporter ending stocks are not a result of a decline in projected global trade, with the estimate for global imports mostly unchanged this month (+141,000, 35.9 to 36.1 million), but are instead driven by a loss of market share relative to the U.S. Due to very strong export sales data in recent weeks, the U.S. export forecast was increased 800,000 bales (from 13.2 to 14.0 million). The current projection indicates that shipments from the U.S. in 2016/17 will be the fourth highest on record (14.4 million bales in both 2004/05 and 2010/11, 17.7 million bales in 2005/06) and is a major increase (+52%) relative to last crop year, when U.S. exports totaled only 9.2 million bales.

With this month's addition, the magnitude of the increase in U.S. exports (+4.8 million bales versus 2015/16) currently exceeds the size of this year's large increase in the U.S. harvest (+4.3 million bales versus 2015/16).A decrease in mill-use and an increase in beginning stocks are mitigating factors, but U.S. stocks are now forecast to contract slightly this crop year (-100,000 bales, from 3.8 to 3.7 million bales). This represents a significant change relative to previous USDA estimates. As recently as February, U.S. stocks were projected to increase by one million bales in 2016/17.


Whether or not the U.S. will be able to maintain a high level of exports will be an important factor shaping price direction in the upcoming 2017/18 crop year. The USDA released an updated set of acreage forecasts in the Prospective Plantings Report at the end of March. This report suggested that U.S. cotton acreage will rise by more than 20% for the 2017/18 season. The weather, through its influence on yield and abandonment, will determine the extent to which the expected increase in U.S. planting might correspond to an increase in production. Nonetheless, an increase of planting on this scale suggests that the prospect of a large U.S. harvest is certainly possible next crop year.

The southern hemisphere will be collecting a bigger harvest this summer, which should mean more competition for U.S. exports in coming months. In addition, the tightening of supply on the Indian sub-continent last spring/summer and the currency-related reforms in India that affected the uptake of fiber from Indian farms to traders this season should not be repeated. This may make Indian cotton more of a feature in international markets throughout 2017/18. The degree to which these factors may influence demand for U.S. exports will help determine how large an increase in ending stocks the U.S. may or may not have next crop year. Given the U.S. position as the world's largest exporter, the eventual size of the change in U.S. ending stocks can be expected to influence price direction around the world.

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