Source: agfax.com

By Duane Howell DTN Cotton Correspondent
March 12, 2018
Upland classing rose to 18.984 million RB, up 17% from last season’s final grading total. A beneficial thunderstorm interrupted Rio Grande Valley planting. Gin fires remained a concern on the Texas Plains. Moderate drought covered a swath of Southeast. Entire Delta has adequate moisture. Freeze damaged early Yuma cotton. Soils cool in California.

Cotton futures ended sharply lower in old-crop deliveries Monday on follow-through action from the prior session’s reversal down, while the rest of the board finished unchanged to up 10 points.

May closed down 124 points to 83.28 cents, below Friday’s low and in the lower quarter of its 215-point range from up 51 points at 85.03 to down 164 points at 83.28 cents. It closed below its nine-day moving average. July settled down 98 points to 83.21 cents, trading within a 177-point range from 84.71-to-82.94 cents. December posted a new contract high, the third in a row, by a single point at 78.75 cents and ended flat at 78.72 cents.

Volume dipped to an estimated 30,100 lots from 31,469 lots the previous session when spreads accounted for 14,579 lots or 46%, EFP 40 lots and EFS 30 lots. Options volume declined to 3,017 lots (1,695 calls and 1,322 puts) from 8,525 lots (3,744 calls and 4,781 puts).

U.S. upland classing slowed to 140,741 running bales last week from 183,869 RB the prior week, boosting the season’s total to 18.984 million RB, up 17% from last season’s final 16.157 million RB. Gins submitting samples for classing declined to 66 from 81 the prior week and 534 for the season, the weekly Agricultural Marketing Service figures showed.

Cotton tenderable on futures contracts dipped to 42% for the week and 67.9% for the season. Last season, 72% of the final classing run was tenderable, up from 57% in 2015, 70% in 2014 and 64% in 2013. Ginning of Pima was completed in California, while an Arizona gin still had modules to process. Pima classing has totaled 673,757 RB, up from last season’s final 618,030 RB. All-cotton classing of 19.658 million RB was up from the 2016-crop final of 16.775 million RB.

Ginning as of Oct. 1 had reached 19.559 million RB, the National Agricultural Statistics Service reported last week, up 18% from 16.559 million a year ago. Ginners estimated 898,500 RB remained to be ginned after the March survey was completed. The USDA began making March 1 ginning estimates with the 2015 crop.

Turning to the 2018 crop, a beneficial thunderstorm interrupted planting in the Rio Grande Valley, traditional source of the nation’s first new-crop supplies. Fields were saturated in the northern Blackland Prairies and more rain was in the near-term forecast. Dry, windy conditions prevailed in the West Texas Plains. Wildfires erupted in several counties, and gin fires remained a concern. Fertilizer was applied and some growers had begun to irrigate. Light to moderate rain fell in parts of the Southeast.

A large swath of moderate drought covered southern Alabama and central Georgia and from southeastern South Carolina southwestward through the eastern Florida Panhandle. Thunderstorms early in the week brought up to an inch of rain in the Memphis territory and up to two inches throughout the South Delta. Moisture was reported adequate throughout the entire Delta.

Freeze damaged early-planted cotton around Yuma, Ariz. About 40% of the crop was planted, sources estimated, but some will have to be replanted. Planting and replanting advanced as temperatures rose.

The California Department of Water Resources estimated that the statewide snowpack holds 10 inches of water equivalent or 37% of normal for this time of year. Planting could begin March 10, but soil temperatures were below normal.

Futures open interest grew 1,264 lots to 270,508 on Friday, with May’s down 718 lots to 129,066, July’s down 447l lots to 57,583 and December’s up 2,155 lots to 67,840. Certified stocks were unchanged at 87,328 bales. (Source: agfax.com)