Cotton Links


How far can technology eventually take the
U.S. cotton industry?


Owen Gwathmey
Extension Agronomist
Jackson, Tenn.

Even though it’s been more than 10 years since the introduction of Bt technology, I think we’ll have new breakthroughs that will continue to carry this industry into the future. And I think that will occur despite these current acreage reductions in cotton. When I look around and see how many technological events that have occurred in cotton production, it’s amazing and quite encouraging. We have a lot to look forward to in the future.

John McKee
Friars Point, Miss.

I share the excitement that the rest of the industry has about technology and what it’s done for the cotton industry. But I also think that we have to take a long look at our own operations and see how certain kinds of technology will affect our bottom line profitability. As thin as margins are today, we just need to pick and choose what will work best on our farms. I think that’s a smart approach to technology.

Stanley Culpepper
Extension Entomologist
Tifton, Ga.

We need to remember one thing in any discussion of technology as it pertains to the cotton industry. Technology will only carry us as far as the quality of the cotton production we have. We must protect, conserve and use that technology wisely, or we’ll lose it, and it won’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. I’m not being negative when I say that. I’m simply saying that we must be good stewards of that technology and use it the right way, or it won’t do us any good. If I had to communicate any one thought on this topic to the industry, that’s what it would be.

Larry McClendon
Marianna, Ark.

Technology will obviously be an important component that will help stabilize agriculture – particularly cotton. I think the results of technology’s influence will be better fiber, and we know that’s the name of the game. We’ve got to find a way to have intensive production, and one of the methods that will help us get there is technology. As to how much a producer uses technology, that will be a discretionary issue for him. Quite frankly, what works on my farm might not work on yours. It’s definitely an individual decision.

Lee Rivenbark
Bayer CropScience
Lubbock, Texas

I am absolutely confident that this first wave of technology in cotton is just the beginning. With the herbicide, insect and fiber traits that our company has in the pipeline – along with our competitors – there is reason for excitement. Producers obviously will look at many factors as they make the cropping decisions that are best for their own operations. That’s what they should do. Having said that, I think there is a real opportunity to bring some of these acres back to cotton, and technology will help us get there. Cotton has a long history, and the producer will have plenty of tools available.

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