USDA forecasts India Cotton production for 2018/19 at 28.5 million 480-pound bales (6.21 million metric tons), unchanged from last year. Harvested area is forecast at 11.8 million hectares, down 4 percent from last year.
Farmers are less optimistic after a 2017/18 pink bollworm infestation that negatively impacted Cotton in central and southern India. Farmers are expected to switch from Cotton to Soybeans and Rice. Yield is estimated at 526 kilograms per hectare, up 4 percent from last year. Meteorologists are forecasting a normal monsoon season for 2018/19.
Cotton planting has began in the northern India states of Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan in early May. Cotton area in Punjab is forecast to decrease by 5 percent as farmers switch from cotton to rice.
Planting in central India (Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh) begins with the onset of the monsoon in late June. Harvested area is forecast to decrease by roughly 5 percent across central India except in Gujarat, the largest producing area where area is expected to remain unchanged from last year.