U.S. organic cotton production in 2003 dropped to less than half that recorded for 2001, according to the Organic Trade Association (OTA).

An OTA survey funded by a grant from Cotton Incorporated and additional information supplied by the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative, found that U.S. growers harvested at least 4,628 bales of organic cotton in 2003. A 2002 OTA study showed a total of 9,897 organic bales were harvested in 2001.

Despite the drop in production, overall U.S. sales of organic fiber finished products, predominantly made from organic cotton, grew 23% in 2003, to reach $85 million, according to OTA's 2004 Manufacturer Survey released last year.

Meanwhile, U.S. acreage planted to organic cotton in 2003 was less than half that planted the previous year.

The survey also showed area planted for 2004 totaled 4,674 acres. Harvesting figures for 2004 are not yet available.