As of Aug. 28, USDA reported that 27 percent of bolls were opening across the 15 cotton-producing states for which weekly conditions are tracked.

The 27 percent of bolls opened compares with the five-year average of 23 percent. Unfortunately, states that have suffered from drought conditions through the growing season are also the ones in which the crop has advanced at a faster pace.

Texas reports that 27 percent of bolls are open, up from the five-year average of 18 percent. The crop in Georgia also is progressing ahead of schedule with 32 percent of bolls opened, compared to a five-year average of 24 percent.

Overall, crop ratings have stabilized in recent reports but still show the serious challenges facing portions of the U.S. crop. In Texas and Oklahoma, 60 percent or more of the crop is rated as poor or very poor.

In much of the rest of the Cotton Belt, crop conditions are generally average to above average, with portions of the Southeastern U.S. being the exception.

As of the Aug. 28 report, the North Carolina and Virginia crops were showing above average ratings. The extent of any damages to the North Carolina and Virginia crops due to Hurricane Irene are still being assessed and will be reflected in future USDA reports.

Complete reports are on the NCC’s website at www.cotton.org/econ/cropinfo/progress.cfm.