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May 14, 2015

Wet Weather Worries Cotton Producers in Mato Grosso

Cotton farmers in Mato Grosso are worried that the persistent rainfall in the state could impact the quality of their cotton as the crop matures. With a high cost of production and low prices, they can ill afford to receive even lower prices due to poor quality.

According to the Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (Imea), approximately 10% of the state's 552,400 hectares of cotton is maturing, which means the bolls are opening up and exposing the fiber to the elements. The rainfall has not been excessive, but farmers are worried that the cloudy and wet conditions could result in lower quality. If the rains would turn excessive, it could impact the overall yield as well.

The lack of sunshine could also impact the photosynthetic activity of the later developing cotton as well. Two regions of the state, the southeastern region and the western region, are responsible for over 80% of the cotton produced in the state.

Cotton in Mato Grosso can either be full-season production planted in December or safrinha production planted in January after the first crop of soybeans are harvested. A lot of the safrinha cotton in the state was plated later than normal this year due to delays in getting the soybeans planted last September and October. The full-season cotton is currently filling the bolls while the safrinha cotton is flowering.

Brazil's 2014/15 cotton acreage is expected to be 977,600 hectares or down 12.8% compared to last growing season. The total fiber production in Brazil is expected to be 1.50 million tons or down 13.2% compared to the 1.73 million tons produced in 2013/14. The state of Mato Grosso is the leading cotton producing state responsible for 60% of Brazil's cotton production followed by the state of Bahia at 26%.