Gro Drought Index Shines Light on Texas Cotton

23 March 2021

The ongoing drought in Texas, which produces a third of US cotton, could have far-reaching effects on the global cotton industry. The US is the No. 3 producer of global raw cotton, and continued drought will heighten pressure on other producers of the commodity. 

Recent conditions in Hale and Lubbock, two major cotton-producing parts of the state, have been more severe. In both counties, the Gro Drought Index (GDI) was above 4 for much of December 2020 (with 5 being the most severe reading possible). Conditions in Lubbock have since improved, and the GDI as of March 22 was 1.9. However Hale remains a concern, with GDI currently approaching 4. 

For comparison, during the devastating drought of 2011, GDI in Hale and Lubbock was above 4 from May through December. During that drought, over 62% of cotton planted acres were abandoned and yields declined by 16%. 

It is still early in the season, and conditions in Texas will bear close watching as the season progresses. 

This impact may be further intensified by international tension over events in Xinjiang, where 80% of China’s cotton is grown, and where China is accused of a campaign of genocide against the Uyghur community. The US, EU, and other countries have announced sanctions against China over these actions, and the US has also moved to ban imports of cotton from the province. Consumer groups are increasingly agitating for boycotts on Xinjiang cotton, which would place US supplies under added pressure. 

This insight was powered by the Gro platform, which enables better and faster decisions about factors affecting the entire global agricultural ecosystem. Gro organizes over 40,000 datasets from sources around the world into a unified ontology, which allows users to derive valuable insights such as this one. You can explore the data available on Gro with a free account, or please get in touch if you would like to learn more about a specific crop, region, or business issue.

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