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LOGO: Journal of Cotton Science


An Assessment by U.S. Cotton Growers and Other Cotton Experts of Important Innovations in Cotton Production in the Last Decade (1996-2006)

Authors: M. C. Marra and S. W. Martin
Pages: 259-265
Economics and Marketing

Beginning with invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney in 1793, cotton production in the United States has experienced many milestone advances over the last 200 years. Some of those were mechanized technological advances, such as the cotton gin and mechanical harvesters, and others were scientific advances, such as Boll Weevil Eradication (BWE) and transgenic cultivars, which, in some cases, revolutionized the industry and, in other cases, saved the industry from further declines. Many scientific and research studies have analyzed and measured the effects of these innovations on cotton production. None, however, have sought the opinions of the people involved in the day-to-day operation of cotton farms on the innovations most beneficial to them, and the innovations they believe will be important to them in the future. Interviews with experts involved in cotton production at the 2007 Beltwide Cotton Conferences suggested that the most important innovations in the last decade were transgenic cultivars, BWE, cotton breeding, and harvesting equipment. Producer responses to a survey conducted in February 2007 confirmed the results from the Beltwide Conference interviews. Survey respondents ranked the Roundup Ready trait as the number one innovation over the last 10 years. Transgenic cultivars as a group, BWE, and improved cotton germplasm ranked as high statistically as the Roundup Ready trait. Some differences of opinion were observed among groups. Smaller farmers ranked new harvesting technologies higher than larger producers, and farmers in the Delta ranked Boll Weevil Eradication lower than farmers in the other regions surveyed.