India is expected to regain the top-producer status in 2019-20 season, surpassing China, which became the leading cotton producer in 2018-19, according to the US department of agriculture (USDA). India’s cotton production during the season is forecast to increase by 3-mn-bales to 28.5 mn bales, while China is likely to produce 27.75 mn bales. “For 2019-20, India’s cotton area is forecast to rise slightly to 12.35 mn hectares (30.5 mn acres), as price expectations remain favourable for cotton. The national yield is also projected to rebound from last season’s below-average level, supporting the 3-mn-bale increase in cotton production to 28.5 mn bales in 2019-20,” the economic research service of the USDA said in its latest ‘Cotton and Wool Outlook’ report.

China is forecast to produce 27.75 mn bales of cotton in 2019-20, equal to the previous season, as slightly lower area is offset by a higher yield expectation. Harvested area in China is projected at 3.45 mn hectares (8.5 mn acres), as Government policies keep area nearly unchanged. However, with area further concentrated in the high-yielding Xinjiang region, the 2019 national yield is forecast to rise to 1,751 kilograms per hectare (1,561 pounds per acre), the report added.

In Pakistan, 2019-20 cotton production is expected to increase 300,000 bales to 8.0 mn bales, as area rebounds from 2018-19 and the yield remains relatively flat. In contrast, cotton production in Brazil and Australia is projected to decrease in 2019-20. For Brazil, production is forecast at 12.0 mn bales, 800,000 bales below the 2018-19 record, as both area and yield are expected to decrease slightly. In Australia, cotton production is expected to decline 12 per cent (300,000 bales) to 2.2 mn bales—the lowest in a decade—as the national yield is reduced with unchanged area.

However, the USDA projects world cotton production in 2019-20 to expand to 125.5 mn bales, 7.0 mn bales (6 per cent) above the 2018-19 estimate. Modest increases foreseen in both global cotton harvested area and yield together support the higher production estimate. Global area is projected at 34.5 mn hectares (85.3 mn acres), 4 per cent above 2018-19 and the highest in 8 years. The world yield is also forecast higher in 2019-20, at 791 kilograms per hectare (706 pounds per acre).