USDA cotton classing fees will remain at $2.30 per bale for the 2018/19 season, says Keith Maloney, area director for the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service cotton program at Dumas, Ark., which classes cotton from western Mississippi and southeast Arkansas. There will be the usual 5-cent discount for collection agents.
The Dumas facility classed 1,298,129 bales for the 2017/18 season and is projecting 1.45 million to 1.5 million bales from this year’s increased acreages in the two regions. “For the 2017/2018 season, we classed 34 percent more cotton from Mississippi compared to 2016/17,” Maloney says. “In southeast Arkansas, classings were up 43 percent over 2016/17. Other classing statistics for the 2017/18 crop were:
•Micronaire average for Mississippi was 4.34, compared to 4.67 the previous year; in Arkansas, the average was 4.45, compared to 4.69 the previous year.
•Strength averaged 31.65 for Mississippi, up from 31.44 the previous year; in Arkansas, strength averaged 31.89, compared to 31.49 the previous year.
•Length in Mississippi averaged 37.88 staple, up from 36.29 the previous year; for Arkansas, length averaged 37.85 staple, up from 36.49 the previous year.
•Uniformity in Mississippi averaged 81.85 percent, up from 81.72 the previous year; in Arkansas, uniformity averaged 82.10 percent, down slightly from 81.92 percent the previous year.
•Leaf grade averaged 3.72 in Mississippi, compared to 3.80 the previous year; for Arkansas, leaf grade averaged 4.04, compared to 3.29 the previous year.
•In Mississippi, 31 and up color averaged 68.9 percent; 41 was 27.7 percent; 51 was 1.5 percent; and light spotted was 1.52 percent. Those numbers compared to 86 percent, 12.8 percent, 0.1 percent, and 0.9 percent the previous year. In Arkansas, 31 and up color averaged 49.7 percent; 41 was 49.2 percent; 51 was 0.8 percent; and light spotted was 0.3 percent. Those numbers compared to 69.8 percent, 29.6 percent, 0.1 percent, and 0.5 percent the previous year.
•Of 1,036,019 bales classed in Mississippi last year, average extraneous matter was 1.0 percent bark, 0.1 percent grass, 0.02 percent other (plastic), for a total extraneous matter of 11,775 bales, or 1.2 percent. That compares to 770,815 bales the previous year, with 0.6 percent bark, 0.1 percent grass for a total extraneous matter of 2,566 bales, or 0.8 percent.
•Of 262,112 bales classed in Arkansas last year, the average was 0.9 percent bark, 0.1 percent grass, 0.02 percent other (plastic), for a total 2,566 bales of extraneous matter, or 1.5 percent.
•Of 162,112 bales classed in Arkansas last year, the average was 0.9 percent bark, 0.02 percent other (plastic), for a total 2,566 bales of extraneous matter, or 4 1.5 percent. Those numbers compared to 183,980 bales the previous year, averaging 1.1 percent bark, 0.3 percent grass, for a total extraneous matter of 2,629 bales, or 1.4 percent.
Module averaging, a voluntary program offered by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service since 1991 at no additional charge, has seen increasing acceptance in the Mid-South, Maloney says, with 70 percent of last year’s classings choosing that option. Only the Far West had a similar level of participation, while the Southeast was just under 30 percent of classings and the Southwest just over 30 percent. For the U.S., just under 50 percent of the crop was classed with module averaging.
Benefits of module averaging to the cotton industry include data accuracy and reliability. Studies each year by the cotton program show overall positive economic results for module averaging, plus a possible benefit in storing, staging, and shipping bales.
With the process, for a given module, all individual HVI measurements for length, strength, uniformity, and micronaire are taken and averaged. “The average for each of these quality factors is assigned to all of the bales within the module,” Maloney notes. “These averages provide a sound statistical representation of each of the bale’s individual measurements.”
Benefits to the cotton industry, he says, include data accuracy and reliability. “Results are more accurate than a single bale test; stand up to retesting upon delivery; hold up against scrutiny and challenge; add confidence to spinners in laydowns; and are more reliable months later. Studies each year by the cotton program show overall positive economic results for module averaging, plus a possible benefit in storing, staging, and shipping bales.”
The Dumas office staff has completed a number of upgrades in systems and software in preparation for the 2018/19 classing season, Maloney says, as well as conducting orientation sessions for staff and planning for additional staff needed to handle this year’s larger crop.
“We thank our valued customers who contribute to the successful operations within our classing office,” he says, “and we look forward to another great cotton crop.”