“The big hang-up for cotton growers has been their success. Indian cotton mills are booming and the demand for Indian-grown cotton is high. Fearing Indian textile mills will have to import foreign cotton, the Indian government stepped in to regulate cotton production and exports.

The results have been predictable, Goradia said. Despite the uncertainty over government policies, he said optimism is high for the 2011, and he expects another record year for the 2012 crop.

Brazilian cotton farmers made a big comeback in 2010, producing 8.2 million bales in 2010, an increase of more than 50 percent versus 2009. In fact, 2010 production topped the past three years (2007-2009) combined. Previous record production came in 2000, with 3.7 million bales.

Though the 2011 cotton crop is still in its vegetative state of growth (in mid-April), experts are already calling for a record crop, which could push two million tons. Brazilian cotton experts are also predicting a record 630,000 bales to be exported in 2011.

The three biggest importers of Brazilian cotton are Indonesia, South Korea and China with the largest increases in recent years coming from China. In 2003 China imported 17 thousand tons of Brazilian cotton. That increased to 77.5 thousand tons in 2005 and in 2010, they imported 84.5 thousand tons of Brazilian cotton.

Over the last decade, cotton production in Brazil has entered into a new era of more high-tech production and has moved away from the historical planting areas in the southern part of the country. In recent years cotton production has shifted to the west-central region of Brazil.

As is the case in Australia, flooding in some cotton production regions of South America create even more optimism for the 2012 crop. If prices remain high, cotton production is expected to continue to increase for next year’s planting season.

rroberson@farmpress.com