Louisiana Cotton Losses From Isaac Smaller Than Expected

Cotton farmers in Louisiana will have smaller cotton losses than expected from Tropical Storm Isaac because most crops weren’t ready for harvesting, limiting damage, a growers’ group said.

“Winds from Isaac defoliated some plants, and very few isolated farms will lose 15 percent to 20 percent of yields,” Meredith Allen, the chief executive officer at Staple Cotton Cooperative Association, said today in a telephone interview, citing discussions with Louisiana growers.

“In the big picture, this means a lot less damage than we feared two days ago,” Allen said from Greenwood, Mississippi. “Most of the losses will occur at farms where cotton areas were ready to be harvested, but fortunately, most of them were not,” he said.

Isaac made landfall as a hurricane on Aug. 28. It has been downgraded to a tropical storm and was 125 miles (201 kilometers) northwest of New Orleans at 8 a.m. New York time, the National Hurricane Center said. The storm was forecast to weaken to a tropical depression by tonight and move to Arkansas tomorrow, the center said.

“We still have about 36 hours of rain because the storm is moving very slowly,” Allen said.

The cooperative represents 4,000 growers in 11 southern states.

In the year started Aug. 1, Louisiana may produce 400,000 bales, or 2.3 percent of U.S. output estimated at 17.65 million bales, U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed on Aug. 10.

Cotton futures for December delivery rose 0.4 percent to 76.96 cents a pound at 2:24 p.m. on ICE Futures in New York. Through yesterday, the price dropped 17 percent this year.

A bale weighs 480 pounds, or 218 kilograms,