Great weather produced some excellent cotton crops in the central to south Delta this year, and with a few more heat units, near-record yields might have extended to the upper Mid-South as well. The overall quality of the crop was excellent, which hopefully will bring a few extra cents to the producer. Futures prices are good, but not great.
The cotton market still has a number of issues to work through including a substantial oversupply of the natural fiber in the world, most of which is sitting in Chinese warehouses, under the watchful eye of bureaucrats.
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For growers, the difficulty of controlling glyphosate-resistant weeds and the rise of secondary pests in cotton have made the cotton producer’s job more difficult, costly and time consuming.
But one can’t help to be encouraged by the recent announcement of new spinning mill projects underway in Louisiana.
According to The Advocate in Baton Rouge, Gulf Coast Spinning Co., plans to invest $130 million in a new cotton spinning facility on 43.5 acres at the Bunkie Industrial Park, in central Louisiana. Construction will begin in mid-2014.
The plant is the second phase of a project that included the opening of a Zagis USA spinning facility in Lacassine that employs 79 people in Jefferson Davis Parish. The Zagis mill costs $20 million.
At 500,000 square feet, the Bunkie cotton spinning mill will hire more than 200 employees by the end of 2015 and 307 people in 2016, according to the newspaper.
Gulf Coast Spinning expects to ship most of its cotton yarn overseas. When both mills are running, they’ll consume 15 percent to 20 percent of Louisiana’s total cotton crop, or between 65,000 bales and 88,000 bales annually, from approximately 32,000 acres to 44,000 acres.
The announcement comes at a good time for the cotton industry, which not that many years ago, boasted a strong and vibrant textile segment, which consumed upwards of 11 million bales annually, according to USDA. Over the next 13 years, however, the industry lost ground to low-cost mills in China. Domestic use declined by a few million bales a year, and bottomed out in 2011-12 at around 3.3 million bales.
In 2013-14, U.S. domestic mill use has been projected at 3.6 million bales, the second straight year it's increased. It’s nothing to get excited about just yet, but one can’t help to be a tiny bit encouraged. And a new spinning mill sure can’t hurt.