The United States Department of Agriculture predicts that the U.S. cottonseed crop will exceed the original July forecast and double the available supply to dairy producers compared to the 2009-2010 harvest season.
July's forecast predicted 18.3 million bales of cottonseed, but the revised estimate increases that number to 18.5 million bales, a 52% increase over last season's harvest. "What this means for dairy producers is an anticipated 100% increase in the amount of whole cottonseed available for feeding," said Tom Wedegaertner, director of cottonseed research and marketing at Cotton Incorporated. "If favorable weather continues, we will net 6.3 million tons of cottonseed this year, up from last year's 4.1 million tons. After the crush, which will use 2.5 million tons, 3.8 million tons will be available for dairy cows, compared to just 1.9 million tons last year."
The reality of the harvest, however, will continue to depend on the weather. While prices are expected to be low by harvest time due to the large availability, "the new crop may already have seen its low," said Wedegaertner. "Right now, it's all about the weather."