By Duane Howell DTN Cotton Correspondent

November 6, 2017

Classing of Texas cotton reached 2.095 million RB, up from 1.834 million RB a year ago, with Corpus grading 1.697 million RB of the 2017 crop. Harvesting expanded under record high temperatures on the Plains. Range-bound cotton futures bounced from a modest dip below the prior-session low to finish on a slight gain Monday.

December edged up 13 points to close at 68.85 cents, around the upper third of its 89-point range from down 49 points at 68.23 to up 40 points at 69.12 cents. December’s newly found settlement discount to March widened to 25 points. March closed up 33 points to 69.10 cents, trading within an 88-point span from 68.37 to 69.25 cents. The other contracts settled up 30 to 20 points.

Volume climbed to an estimated 46,165 lots from 33,420 lots the prior session when spreads accounted for 19,130 lots or 57% and EFP 258 lots. Options volume increased to 7,647 lots (5,070 calls and 2,577 puts) from 3,777 lots (2,308 calls and 1,469 puts). Classing of Texas upland cotton rose to 372,787 running bales during the week ended Thursday from 230,974 RB the prior week, boosting the season’s state total 2.095 million RB, up from 1.834 million a year ago.

Tenderable cotton accounted for 59.3% for the week and 76.3% for the season. Around 24% of the state’s upland production as estimated by USDA last month had been classed, compared with 23% of the final 2016 output at the corresponding point last season. An additional cut in the Texas crop forecast is expected by some analysts in the updated USDA estimate on Thursday owing to freeze damage in the High Plains. Some big yields have been reported in the Plains area, however.

The USDA last month lowered the forecast 300,000 statistical bales to 9 million, still a record high and up from 8.1 million last year, with 255,000 bales of the reduction reported on the High Plains. Classing of 104,241 RB at Corpus Christi last week boosted the season’s total there to 1.697 million RB for producers in South Texas, the Lower Rio Grande Valley and East Texas. Corpus continued to operate two shifts and has graded 81% of the statewide total.

Harvesting and ginning increased in the Plains over the weekend as dry weather prevailed and temperatures reached record and near-record highs. The thermometer hit 88 degrees on Saturday at Lubbock, surpassing the prior date high of 86 set in 1916, and reached 84 degrees on Sunday, two degrees shy of the record set in 1924.

A weak cold front was expected to drop the high to 77 degrees on Monday, followed by a stronger cold front forecast to lower the highs to 56 degrees on Tuesday and 45 on Wednesday. There’s a 30% chance of light rain forecast for Tuesday, diminishing to 20% Wednesday morning. Partly sunny to sunny skies and no rain then are forecast through Sunday.

Some gins added night shifts for around-the-clock operations in the Plains last week. The Abilene, Lamesa and Lubbock classing offices put on additional shifts to keep pace with the incoming pace of sample receipts. Three module fires in different locations caused extensive damage that included cotton still on the stalk, according to local reports. Cottonseed prices were reported at $125 to $150 per ton.

Futures open interest gained 260 lots to 235,300 on Friday, with December’s down 3,177 to 97,267 and March’s up 2,762 lots to 93,503. Certified stocks continued to grow, increasing 4,927 bales to 32,922, largest since July 28. (Source: