Quality sets cotton apart from most agricultural commodities. That is, a bale of cotton possesses a unique set of characteristics that renders it suitable for certain uses, and less so for others. Producers are familiar with these characteristics as they show up in premium and discount tables and recap prices. Consumers see quality reflected in premium prices for high-end textiles and garments made from Pima, Sea Isle or other ELS varieties.
For the industry as a whole, these quality differences are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, cotton’s huge quality range is the reason a merchant and broker sector exists between producers and mills. Mills have a very specific set of criteria for cotton they will accept, and those criteria are strict enough that it would be nearly impossible for a single grower to only produce cotton within those specifications.
There are several steps growers can take to produce better white and see more green at the end of the season.” – Dr. Louis W. Rose IV
On the other hand, the degree to which quality is subject to factors beyond grower/ginner control means that merchants frequently find themselves owning cotton, meeting a narrow set of criteria without having the required inventory on hand.
For growers, the bottom line depends largely on quality. With the international standard moving from the US 41-4-34 SLM to 31-3-35 M, growers have a strong incentive to increase staple length and enhance color. Further incentives exist for improving uniformity, strength and micronaire.
There are several steps growers can take to produce better white and see more green at the end of the season, beginning with the right varieties that can deliver the quality required. Factors beyond the grower’s control will always exist (e.g. the weather and the market). However, the difference between a good year and a great year begins by making the right choices.
Market analyst Dr. Louis W. Rose IV says producers can increase cotton quality by making the right choices before the crop is planted in the spring. RoseCottonReport.com