Texas Cotton Crop Improves

Texas – Texas cotton producers overcame dry conditions and are expected to harvest 10 percent more of the fluffy fiber than last year.

Estimates released earlier this week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that the nation's leading cotton-growing state will produce 4.9 million bales, up from the 4.4 million bales in 2008.

Nationwide, producers forecast production of 12.5 million bales, the smallest crop in 20 years.

South Texas growers lost nearly all of their crop as they battled the worst drought in more than 50 years. The region around Corpus Christi harvested just 20,000 bales. Last year's that region harvested 260,000 bales.

The 41-county region in West Texas that is the world's largest contiguous growing patch was on track to harvest 3.69 million bales, up 26 percent from last year's 2.9 million bales.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.