Columbia, S.C., December 10, 2002: Based on the December 1 Cotton Ginning Survey,

SOUTH CAROLINA'S COTTON production is expected to total 150,000 bales, announced the South Carolina Agricultural Statistics Service. This is 30,000 bales below November 2002, and 273,000 bales below 2001. Acres for harvest, at 286,000, is down 10,000 acres from 2001. This year's expected average yield per acre of 252 pounds is down 50 pounds from November 2002 and 434 pounds below last year. Although the rains eased the long-term drought, the wet weather continued to deteriorate the cotton crop.

All cotton production in the UNITED STATES is forecast at 17.4 million 480-pound bales, down 2 percent from November and 14 percent less than last year's record high production. This has resulted in a yield decrease of 17 pounds from last month and 57 pounds from last year. Harvested area, at 12.9 million acres, is unchanged from November but 7 percent below 2001. Southeastern growers are continuing to see the results of adverse weather that has affected their season.

Upland cotton harvested area, at 12.6 million acres in the U.S. is unchanged from the November estimate but 7 percent less than last year. In the Southeastern States, cotton picking progressed rapidly during the first half of November, but widespread, persistent rains virtually halted fieldwork in the middle of the month. However, harvest approached completion toward the end of the month as dry weather dominated the region.

All cotton ginned totaled 12,367,400 running bales prior to December 1, compared with 15,564,150 running bales ginned by the same date last year and 13,619,100 running bales ginned in 2000.

For additional information: Robert A. Graham, State Statistician

Elizabeth Reeh, Cotton Statistician