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Cotton price has limited effect on garment costs

Cotton price has limited effect on garment costs

Good cotton crop and good prices Gin season almost done in S and Central Texas Price increase minimal effect on garment prices

Many producers had a lot to be thankful for as Thanksgiving approached, but cotton producers were particularly blessed, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service personnel.

"It's not often we have a good crop and a good price, and the future prices are still looking pretty good," said Dr. Gaylon Morgan, AgriLife Extension statewide cotton agronomist based in College Station. "So I think we're going to see a pretty substantial increase in cotton acreage and throughout the cotton belt next year."

In South and Central Texas, gins are nearly done with this year's crop, Morgan said.

"Visiting with county agents in the Blacklands, some of the bigger gins are expected to wrap up next week," he said. "I haven't heard how they're doing out in the Rolling Plains and High Plains, but with the yield potential they have, I'm sure they'll be running into the spring."

In the High Plains, the cotton harvest typically isn't finished until December, and a late crop and late freeze in some areas may stretch the harvest well past New Year’s, Morgan said.

Higher clothing prices?

Morgan noted that there is conjecture circulating that with cotton prices doubling, the cost of clothing will double as well, he said.

"If your blue jeans double in price, it's not because of cotton prices," Morgan said. "For example, you can make 215 pairs of blue jeans out of a (500-pound) bale of cotton. So at 60-cent (per pound) cotton, that's about a $1.34 of cotton fiber in a pair of jeans. At $1.20 cotton, there's about $2.68 worth of fiber. That's about a $1.34 difference in price of jeans."

And with other clothing, the comparison is more dramatic. For example, more than 1,200 T-shirts can be made from a bale of cotton, so a doubling of the commodity price should only add about 15 cents to the end product, he said.

At this point, it's just hearsay about the rise in clothing prices, and though it seems a bit far-fetched, a similar thing happened with bread when wheat prices went up a few years ago, Morgan said.

"There may only be only a nickel's worth of wheat in a loaf of bread, but a loaf of bread doubled in price when grain prices when up," he said. "I think it's an excuse for the manufacturers to blame it on the commodity price. A lot of people don't understand that there's not a one-to-one relationship there."

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