Cotton's Week: October 27, 2006

Cotton's Week: October 27, 2006


Helms Leads Delegation to China

NCC Chairman Allen Helms, Clarkdale, AR cotton producer and ginner, led a 10-member US cotton industry leadership delegation to China. This delegation was part of a ’06 China Leadership Exchange Program established by the NCC along with the China Cotton Association (CCA).

The delegation also included NCC Vice Chairman John Pucheu, Tranquillity, CA, producer; American Cotton Producers Chairman Jay Hardwick, Newellton, LA, producer; Jimmy Dodson, Robstown, TX producer; Don Cameron, Helm, CA, producer; Mike Tate, Huntsville, AL, producer; Ron Craft, Plains, TX, producer and ginner; Shane Stephens, Greenwood, MS, warehouseman; Tom Stallings, Funston, GA, ginner and warehouseman; and John Mitchell, Cordova, TN, merchant. The delegation was accompanied by NCC Vice President Fred Johnson. 

This was the first time the NCC has sent a high-level industry delegation for a China/US cross-country exchange.

NCC President/CEO Mark Lange said, “Our objective is to familiarize the delegation with the market demands and our valued customers’ views by experiencing China’s development personally. We hope to promote U.S. cotton and further participate in the development of China’s market.”

The group learned about China’s policy on cotton production, standards and import policy, and factors affecting U.S. cotton’s competitiveness in the vast Chinese market. In addition, the NCC and CCA reached an agreement on the promotion of cooperation between the two countries’ cotton industries. NCC and CCA hope to have further industry leadership exchanges and dialogue on future issues.

Cotton Council International (CCI), NCC’s export promotion arm, arranged the group’s logistics. CCI held a 50th anniversary commemorative event during the delegation’s visit in Beijing where US Ambassador to China, Clark T. Randt, Jr., and Mr. Zhou Shengtao, president of CCA, spoke on the history and importance of US-China cotton trade.

Mr. Zhou said, “The development of the cotton trade and textile products between China and the U.S. is complementary. The cooperation between both parties is mutually beneficial and the prosperity of the Chinese and American cotton industries will present each party and the world with huge opportunities for development.”

Mr. Zhou also congratulated the US industry for its work on developing consumer demand in key markets around the world, including China.

Helms stated, “In November, the two organizations will sign a Memorandum of Understanding under this ‘cooperation and good will’ spirit. We look forward to a successful future of mutually beneficial trade and increased cooperation among the U.S. and Chinese cotton industries.”

Other trip highlights included meetings with Chinese government cotton officials and visits to major ports, warehouse facilities and cotton growing regions in western China. The delegation also visited several textile mills, including Weiqiao Textile Company, the world’s largest mill.

Trip reports will be presented in the general session of the ’07 Beltwide Cotton Production Conference in New Orleans in January.

African Cotton Trade Assessed

“The Next Steps for Africa” conference in Washington, DC, hosted trade ministers from the W. African cotton-producing countries (C-4). The conference, sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson Center, assessed the current situation in African cotton trade and development against the backdrop of the suspended Doha negotiations. Crawford Falconer, chairman of the WTO Agricultural Negotiations, warned attendees that it is dangerous to merely presume talks would be restarted soon.

“If the parties continue to posture and politic rather than negotiate there would be little chance for further progress,” he said.

In his meeting address, NCC President/CEO Mark Lange said, “It is truly unfortunate that a number of NGOs encouraged the C-4 to walk away from the Doha negotiations. The ambitious U.S. proposal offers the C-4 the best opportunity to open agricultural markets everywhere while disciplining the most trade distorting domestic subsidies.”

WTO Compliance Panel Named

The WTO has named the three members of the panel who will hear Brazil’s complaint regarding US compliance with the original dispute panel decision in the cotton case. Two new members have been named to the three-person panel. 

The two new panel members are from Mexico and South Korea, and they replace original panelists from Poland and Australia. The panel’s third member is from Chile and served on the original panel.

Brazil charges that the compliance measures taken by the United States are inadequate and further states that in some instances the US “has adopted no implementation measures at all and that the implementation measures it has adopted fall far short of compliance with the covered agreements…”

The NCC will continue to work with the US Trade Representative’s Office and USDA in developing a defense to the latest charges.

MSMA Comment Period Extended

EPA has extended the submission period for comments on the proposed cancellation of MSMA herbicide for an additional 30 days (see 10/13 Cotton’s Week and for an MSMA fact sheet). The new deadline is Dec. 13, ’06 as EPA continues to seek stakeholder feedback while the pesticide office reviews the risks and benefits associated with MSMA use.

A review of comments filed thus far indicates that producers support re-registration of the product because it is an effective alternative and an important component in Integrated Resistance Management programs.

NCC representatives have participated in meetings with EPA officials to respond to questions about MSMA use and to convey support for re-registration. Comments can be submitted on-line at using the docket ID number: EPA-HQ-OPP-2006-0201.

Pink Bollworm Effort Impresses SAP

The EPA held a Science Advisory Panel (SAP) to assess the resistance risk to Bt in pink bollworm (PBW). This was a result of Arizona cotton growers’ option to plant up to 100% Bt as part of the Arizona pink bollworm eradication program initiated earlier this year.

The action was prompted by Arizona issuing a state label for Bollgard and Bollgard II, called Special Local Need (SLN) or 24c label to allow growers to plant 100% Bt. Current Monsanto labels specifically prohibit use of PBW pheromones (gossyplure) and sterile insects on a 5% untreated refuge. In the PBW eradication program, sterile insects serve the same function as native insects produced in a non-Bt refuge. EPA reluctantly allowed the 24c labels to stand for ’06, but insisted that a SAP would examine resistance risks as a condition of allowing 24c labels in the future.

Osama El Lissy, USDA-APHIS, and EPA’s Sharlene Matten provided overviews and summaries of program operations, program results and resistance risk analysis to the panel. The U. of Arizona team of Drs. Bruce Tabashnik and Tim Dennehy, in cooperation with Dr. Mark Sisterson, USDA-ARS, Fresno, provided results of PBW resistance research and PBW resistance risk modeling. After a decade of Bt use, there has been no change in PBW susceptibility. Modeling even worst case scenarios showed very low resistance risk using only the single gene Bollgard in the model.

During a discussion prompted by EPA-posed questions, panelists each lauded the program from concept through management, operations, data summary and presentations.

Dr Gary Fitt, CSIRO entomologist from Australia, observed that the concept was “brilliant,” and the program well planned with excellent cooperation between science and operations. He stated that the attempt is ambitious, unprecedented and expressed his congratulations to the industry.

Pink Bollworm Action Committee (PBAC) Chairman Bill Lovelady, a Tornillo, TX, producer, emphasized in his comments to the panel that grower leadership plays a key role in program coordination with APHIS. He told the panel that the PBAC would meet Nov. 1-2 at the U. of Arizona’s MaricopaAgriculturalCenter to coordinate planning for the ’07 program.

Multi-Commodity Exchange Is A Win-Win

The NCC’s Multi-Commodity Education Program (MCEP) was launched when producers from the Midwest/Far West traveled to North Carolina to observe cotton production/processing and other agricultural operations. It was deemed a major success by the participants and the hosts.

The schedule was developed by NCC staff in cooperation with local organizations and leaders and the trip was coordinated by NCC’s Member Services. The program is supported by The Cotton Foundation with grants from Deere & Company and Monsanto.

“We believe this can contribute to a better understanding and strengthen communications between farmers regardless of their crop or the location of their operation,” NCC Chairman Allen Helms, Clarkedale, AR, cotton producer, said. “Ideally, the program will facilitate development of strong and lasting relationships between current and future producer leaders of American agriculture.”

Steven Pigg, Bushnell, IL, corn and soybean farmer, said he was impressed with the diversity of Southern agriculture.

“Many of these cotton farmers are raising multiple crops, whether its sweet potatoes or tobacco,” he said. “It makes me think that maybe I should add some more to my crop mix and spread the risk.”

One of the hosts, Max Denning, a diversified farmer in Benson, said the MCEP participants asked a lot of questions that fueled some good discussion on topics ranging from the challenge of no-till farming in the Midwest to the average age of farmers and the importance of creating incentives for people to continue farming or become farmers.

Denning, who is a graduate of the NCC’s Cotton Leadership Program, said he took the opportunity to explain to the group the importance of having sound immigration policy because he and other diversified farmers in North Carolina have labor intensive operations. “I learned that many of the Midwestern operations aren't nearly as labor intensive as our operations because of their cropping patterns,” Denning said.

He said he was also interested to learn that most of the MCEP participants were concerned about the adverse impact of payment limitations. “They told us they need higher limitations, too,” he noted.

In ’07, Sunbelt agriculture leaders, including cotton, peanut and rice producers, will reciprocate by visiting the Midwest or Far West to learn about challenges facing their peers there. They will observe grain/oilseeds production and see renewable fuel facilities and livestock operations.

US Mill Cotton Usage Slips

According to the Commerce Dept., September (5-week month) total cotton consumption in domestic mills was 249.5 million pounds for a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 5.29 million bales (480-lb). Last year’s September annualized rate was 6.00 million bales.

The August (four-week month) estimate of domestic mill use of cotton was lowered by 1.47 million pounds to 192.0 million. The revised seasonally adjusted annualized rate of consumption for August is 5.15 million bales. This is lower than last year’s August annualized rate of 6.29 million bales.

Preliminary October domestic mill use of cotton and revised September figures will be released by Commerce on Nov. 30.

Sales, Shipments Steady

Net export sales for the week ending Oct. 19 were 211,200 bales (480-lb). This brings total ’06-07 sales to almost 4.1 million. Total sales at the same point in the ’05-06 marketing year were about 7.2 million bales. Total new crop (’07-08) sales are 168,300 bales.

Shipments for the week were 143,000 bales, bringing total exports to date to 1.5 million bales, compared with the 2.6 million bales at the comparable point in the ’05-06 marketing year.

Prices Effective Oct. 27-Nov. 2, '06

Adjusted World Price, SLM 11/16

41.79 cents


Coarse Count Adjustment

0.00 cents

Marketing Loan Gain Value

10.21 cents

Import Quotas Open


Step 3 Quotas (480-lb. bales)


ELS Payment Rate

 0.00 cents

*No Adjustment Made Under Step I
Five-Day Average
Current 3135 c.i.f. Northern Europe

57.89 cents

Forward 3135 c.i.f. Northern Europe


Coarse Count c.i.f. Northern Europe


Current US c.i.f. Northern Europe

59.00 cents

Forward US c.i.f. Northern Europe


'05-06 Weighted Marketing-Year Average Farm Price  
Final Marketing-Year Average Price)

47.70 cents


Error in element (see logs)