Half way through picking, cotton shows lower quality - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Half way through picking, cotton shows lower quality

October 26, 2006

Doerun-  Early predictions and a lack of rain called for a poor cotton crop, and while the crop has been better than originally thought, higher production cost and poorer quality could cost south Georgia cotton farmers plenty. Many farmers could see deductions of five cents or more.

South Georgia's cotton crop has been the bust everyone predicted. It's good news for Michael Hancock who planted another 300 acres of cotton this year.

"This cotton here, we figured three or 400 pounds an acre, but its turned out a lot better, a lot better," said Michael Hancock, Bart Davis Farms.

"They predicted a 25 percent reduction in last years crop and I think it's going to be more around 15 percent," said Floyd Taylor, Doerun Gin Managing Partner.

While farmers are getting a better yield, gin manager Floyd Taylor says the quality isn't as good.

"Well, The color is great, we have a lot of white cotton all good, but the length of the fiber which is the staple is probably half and half, good and bad," said Taylor.

A shorter length fiber and high micronaire cotton could cost farmers up to five cents. A depressed market because of the amount of cotton available isn't helping farmers either. The Doerun Gin Company is running about three weeks behind farmers and after last year added a new gin stand.

"Last year they had a great picking season and we got way behind so we put in a third gin stand and its helped a lot. The six row picker had made the farmer that much more efficient and faster," said Taylor.

With high fuel prices, it won't be efficient enough. "It could be better, but the price of fuel and everything has gone up, but the price of cotton," said Hancock.

Despite the lower price estimates, Hancock plans to finish his harvest and turn his attention to next year.

Texas has flooded the market with cotton, producing double crops for the last two years, reducing the market price. Georgia produces and average of 2.1 million bales of cotton annually.

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