The 2012 cotton crop (growth and development) is ahead of schedule and has been from the beginning of planting.

The crop appears to be about a week ahead of normal.

This means, on average, there is probably a little less time available from here on out for rain to help the crop. It may also mean that boll opening and then harvest will also be ahead of schedule and, in that instance, too much rain is not wanted at that point.

The overall condition of the crop has slowly and steadily deteriorated throughout the season. The “crop condition index” for the most recent week available is 3.30 compared to 3.67 at the end of May. This is still considerably better than where we were last season, however.

For the week ended July 8, 24 percent of the Texas crop was rated poor or very poor. Missouri was rated 42 percent poor or very poor and Tennessee 22 percent.

Among Southeast states, Georgia is mostly (81 percent) fair to good, North Carolina 83 percent, South Carolina 90 percent, and Virginia 99 percent. Alabama is 75 percent fair to good, but also 24 percent poor to very poor.

The U.S. Drought Monitor continues to show most of Texas in severe to extreme drought. Almost the entire state of Arkansas is in extreme drought with severe drought stretching into west Tennessee. The DM also shows portions of Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina with severe to exceptional drought.

Despite the DM status, the Georgia crop for the most part is doing very well due to timely rainfall. The DM reflects a long-term moisture situation. In the short-term, crop conditions can more closely depend on more recent precipitation.

Rainfall of .5 to 1.5 inches has been received over much of the Cotton Belt with heavier amounts into the Carolinas and across the Mid-South. Amounts across the Texas High Plains have been generally less. More has been received mainly north and east of Corpus Christi.

Depending on the amount of rainfall received and the growth stage and condition of the crop at the time, rainfall could be helpful or too late. Based on rainfall this week, crop conditions may show slight improvement.

U.S. and world S/D numbers

USDA released their July U.S. and World production, supply, and demand estimates last week. The numbers, in my opinion, were somewhat bullish and supportive..... but in the short-run, the market doesn’t always pay attention to economics (or just economic fundamentals).