Nearly A Million More Tons Of Cottonseed Projected To Be Available For Dairies

The cotton crop will be plentiful, outproducing the previous two seasons

CARY, N.C. (November 7, 2019) – Dairy producers can expect to see a significant increase in whole cottonseed supplies this year. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest crop progress report, cotton production is projected at 21.7 million bales, an 18% increase from last year.

“Nearly a million more tons of cottonseed will be produced this year compared to last season, and virtually all of that will be available for feeding to dairy cows,” explains Tom Wedegaertner, director of cottonseed research, Cotton Incorporated. “This is significant because whole cottonseed is the only feedstuff with high energy, high fiber and protein, making it an excellent feed ingredient for lactating cows.”

The U.S. upland cotton crop is forecast at 21 million bales compared to 17.6 from the previous season. Strong gains were made in the Southeast with an increase of 1.4 million more bales as the region recovers from the effects of Hurricanes Florence and Michael.

“The cotton supply is larger than the previous two years,” notes John R.C. Robinson, Texas A&M University professor and Extension specialist economist in cotton marketing, adding that the abandonment rate was considerably lower.

Current crop conditions are comparable to last year but, with the weather playing a defining factor, the current crop could experience some variability. Wedegaertner recommends producers book their cottonseed needs early, working with reputable merchants and suppliers.

“Cottonseed prices remain firm with other commodities, but even when it seems like it costs a little more, it proves a high-value feed ingredient for high-producing cows,” he adds. “Whole cottonseed offers strong potential for increasing milk and butterfat production when added to rations. By keeping an eye on cottonseed prices and, with adequate planning, dairy producers can guarantee cottonseed in their upcoming rations.”

Cotton Incorporated suggests producers get in touch with their cottonseed merchant or feed dealer to check prices or submit a request for cottonseed quotes through its Cottonseed Marketplace.

Cottonseed is an excellent source of fiber, protein and energy. Typical rations can include up to 15% cottonseed on a dry matter basis. For more information, including reports on market conditions, feeding information and a list of suppliers, visit

Cotton Incorporated, funded by U.S. growers of upland cotton and importers of cotton and cotton textile products, is the research and marketing company representing upland cotton. The program is designed and operated to improve the demand for and profitability of cotton.

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