USDA is predicting a 2010 U.S. cotton crop of 18.84 million bales – all the more reason to uphold U.S. cotton’s reputation through diligent contamination prevention and other quality preservation measures.
How does U.S. cotton rate?
Earlier this year, the International Textile Manufacturers Federation released its “Cotton Contamination Survey 2009,” a bi-annual survey that received responses from 110 spinning mills located in 23 countries. The evaluation of 63 different cotton growths demonstrated once again that U.S. raw cotton fared well compared to other countries’ growths. The survey found that the level of cottons modestly or seriously contaminated as perceived by the spinning mills worldwide did not increase compared to the last survey in 2007, remaining constant at 22 percent.
A closer look shows that six percent of all cottons evaluated in 2009 were seriously contaminated by some sort of foreign matter. In contrast, very clean U.S. raw cottons produced in the Texas High Plains, Memphis, Pima, Southeast and California accounted for five out of the 10 growths worldwide where the contamination degree was judged to be non-existent or insignificant.
How important is contamination prevention?
Even though U.S. cotton keeps improving steadily, National Cotton Council staff is committed to stressing the importance of good housekeeping from field to fabric. We want to make sure our member producers, ginners and others in the cotton supply chain know the importance of continuing to supply contamination-free cotton. At meetings with producers, ginners and others, we always emphasize the importance of finding and removing potential contaminants before they get into the seed cotton and lint. As the 2010 U.S. cotton harvest/ginning season proceeds, members are reminded that perseverance is required.
Is there a contamination prevention resource available online?
The NCC has dedicated a website page to quality preservation. Found in the Technical area of the site, www.cotton.org, the page contains links to previous contamination prevention campaigns and new programs. Included is a link to the “Contamination Free Cotton: Keep It Clean and Pure” streaming videos that are in English and Spanish. As the presentations explain, the threat of contamination exists both for the textile industry and the industry's raw cotton sector.
The quality preservation web page also addresses module building and covering issues. While recent innovations have resulted in changes to module building for onboard systems, the principles of module building have not changed. Producers should strive to construct well-packed modules and cover them with tarps that have not been degraded by the elements. This season’s harvest appears to be promising with cotton bringing a premium. Producers and ginners are urged to be vigilant in preventing contamination and protecting seed cotton.
Mark Lange is president and chief executive officer for the National Cotton Council of America. He and other NCC leaders contribute columns on this Cotton Farming page.
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