Producer's Viewpoint

John E. Pucheu, Jr.


I can't pretend to speak for everyone in the Far West on the Advisory Committee recommendations, but I can give you my opinions.

At Calcot we installed our first HVI line in 1981 and this past year we added a second line. We utilize the HVI lines in several ways:

(1) We do random sampling of a cotton crop as it arrived in order to get our idea of the fiber characteristics of that crop; (2) We also do extensive testing of any new strains or varieties for marketing purposes and to compare and share with other fiber labs; (3) But mostly we use HVI for application of cotton to sales.

If contracts specify length, strength, or uniformity, samples are conditioned and run through the HVI lines. Cotton is then applied to the sale with bales that match the contract.

Why the emphasis on HVI at Calcot? Because we believe we are currently in the midst of a transition in the textile industry to demands for cotton which is longer, stronger, and finer. This transition is being driven in part by customer requirements for stronger and finer yarns. Another factor in this change has been the move by textile mills to different equipment such as open end spinning. More automation and faster speeds of weaving and knitting machines are also contributing to this change.

All these items are driving the industry to change yarn quality requirements plus the fact that consumers themselves are demanding a smoother look and are being more discriminating in their selection of apparel.

Because of these changes, the traditional measurements to determine the value of cotton (length, color and trash) are not enough anymore.

A year ago Calcot, where I serve as Chairman of the Board, studied HVI extensively to determine if we thought the measurements were reliable enough to warrant installation in the West. The result was we felt certain measurements, in particular the strength measurement, was not yet reliable enough to recommend. We encouraged USDA to improve that measurement.

The USDA has indeed improved repeatability. Under their check test program, repeatability has improved from a November of 1985 figure of 65% within plus or minus 1 gram per tex to November of 1987, 76% within plus or minus I gram per tex. And most recently in November of 1988, the tests were within 90% plus or minus 1 gram per tex.

According to Ross Griffith, head of the fiber performance section, Cotton Division, USDA in Clemson, these improvements can be attributed to better calibration of equipment, conditioning of samples, and properly running machines.

So we are in favor of the Committee recommendations. Specifically that:

(1) Strength be made a part of the loan premiums an discounts beginning with the 1991 crop. (2) That all cotton be required to have an HVI class starting with the 1991 crop. (3) That a premium micronaire range be established for cotton in the 3.7 - 4.2 range. (4) That study continue on developing a high-speed maturity-fineness test to determine percentage of short fibers and an accurate length uniformity reading.

Cotton growers and cotton breeders need to know what it is the textile industry wants in fiber properties. These needs will be communicated to the grower through proper premiums and discounts incorporated into the recommendations made by the Advisory Committee. Make no mistake...these are significant changes and will have a big impact on the industry. I believe they are steps in the right direction.

Reprinted from Proceedings: 1989 Beltwide Cotton Production Conference pp. 98 - 99
©National Cotton Council, Memphis TN

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Document last modified Sunday, Dec 6 1998