For the Delta, planted area also decreased in 2012/13 to 2.0 million acres. However, despite average abandonment and a record yield of 1,011 pounds per harvested acre, the Delta crop declined 8 percent to 4.2 million bales in 2012/13.

In the West, 2012/13 upland area declined to 388,000 acres, but was the second highest in 5 years. With an above-average abandonment and a record yield of 1,517 pounds per harvested acre, upland production in the West decreased to 1.2 million bales, slightly above the 5-year average.

The ELS crop remains concentrated in the West, with planted area in 2012/13 falling more than 20 percent to 238,000 acres; however, a record yield of 1,540 pounds per harvested acre kept ELS production at 760,000 bales in 2012/13, bringing total cotton production in the region to nearly 1.9 million bales.

With the U.S. economy forecast to expand slowly in 2013, slow growth in U.S. cotton mill use also is expected during the second half of 2012/13. Cotton has lost share to manmade fibers over the last several seasons and — despite recently lower cotton prices—cotton’s fiber share continues at historically low levels.

U.S. textile import data for the first 5 months of 2012/13 confirms this, with cotton’s share of U.S. textile imports near 48 percent, similar to last season but down from about 55 percent four years ago.

As uncertainty about the global economy continues, consumer demand for cotton textile and apparel products remains lackluster. In calendar year 2011, cotton textile and apparel imports reached 17.8 million bale-equivalents, the lowest in nine years.

In 2012, preliminary data suggest a further import decline of approximately 4 percent to the lowest level since the early 2000s. Estimated U.S. household consumption of cotton, as measured by U.S. mill use plus net textile trade, is expected to decline to its lowest since 1996.

In calendar 2012, U.S. domestic consumption of cotton decreased to an estimated 17.0 million bale-equivalents, compared with 17.6 million in 2011. Similarly, U.S. per capita cotton consumption decreased to an estimated 26 pounds in calendar 2012, the lowest since the early 1990s.

U.S exports for 2012/13 are forecast at 12.5 million bales, up 0.8 million from the previous year. The U.S. share of world exports increased to 31 percent, but remains below the historical average.

Record or near record crops for other major exporters and the large decline in imports by China (the largest U.S. market) have constrained exports.

The forecast increase in exports is not expected to offset the larger U.S. crop and as a result U.S. stocks are forecast to increase more than one million bales to 4.5 million.

The resulting 28.3- percent stocks-to-use ratio remains slightly below both the 5- and 10-year averages. The average price received by farmers is expected to fall nearly 20 percent from last year’s record level to 71 cents per pound.

Global 2013/14 cotton production is projected at 115.5 million bales, down 3 percent from the previous year. Relatively lower cotton market prices are expected to cause a shift in cultivated area from cotton to more profitable alternatives.

Output is expected to contract in the United States, China, and Australia, which together account for 44 percent of world production, compared with a 46-percent share in the previous year. Brazil, India, and Pakistan are projected to increase production in 2013/14.

World 2013/14 harvested area for cotton is projected to decline nearly 3 percent from a year earlier to about 33.0 million hectares, while world yields are expected to remain about even with 2012/13.