By Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar|

December 5, 2019
About 70 cotton producers, researchers and academics gathered in Lubbock December 4-5 to discuss cutting-edge applied and field research.

Researchers who have been funded by U.S. cotton growers through Cotton Incorporated interacted with cotton producers to review topics ranging from transgenics, fiber yield and quality, and new applications and markets.

That level of interaction was one of the primary purposes of the event, stated Dr. Gaylon Morgan, director for Agricultural and Environmental Research at Cotton Incorporated.

“We would not be here today with such high yields and quality without research,” stated Dale Swinburn of Tulia, TX, who has been farming for 50 years on the High Plains. It is important to state how engaged the cotton farmers were with the researchers and showed interest to take applicable results to their fields.

Barry Evans, who farms 4,000 acres in Swisher County, TX, stated that research on drought resistance due to declining water levels and new applications for cotton are important. Varieties, chemistries, farming methods and management have significantly improved over the last four decades.

Steve Verett, chief executive officer of Plains Cotton Growers and a cotton producer from Crosby County, TX, highlighted the research benefits that have resulted in varieties and improved irrigation efficiency since he began farming in 1977.

“The industry has come a long way since my first farming days as a high school student in 1964, when herbicides were just beginning to appear,” stated Danny May, who farms in Calhoun County, TX. As over 80% of the U.S. cotton crop is exported, Professor Eric Hequet of Texas Tech University emphasized the need to preserve fiber quality through processing stages such as mechanical harvesting and ginning.

Sustainability in farming, energy savings, environmental protection, reducing plastic contamination and delivering value-added environmentally friendly products such as cotton biofilms and cotton-based oil absorbent mats were all discussed during the meeting.

It is important for the global cotton industry to work with all stakeholders such as the farmers, researchers and end-users to help advance the industry forward. Producer-researcher forums such as this is surely a valuable model for the global cotton sector to follow. (Source: