Home » Volume 27 / 2023 » Issue: 1 »
Yield, Fiber Quality, and Textile Outcomes from In-Field Blending of Cotton Seed at Planting
Christopher D. Delhom, Marinus H.J. van der Sluijs, Michael P. Bange, Robert L. Long, and Amanda Nelson
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Cotton is a highly variable natural material that is routinely blended during textile processing to create a uniform product. Harvesting and ginning can introduce some blending before the mill. Blending earlier in the supply chain could produce a more consistent and predictable product. There has been limited research on the benefits of in-field blending of cotton cultivars, especially from a textile perspective. Experiments were conducted over two seasons to determine the economic and performance impacts of in-field blending. The seed of three cultivars with different quality parameters were blended in combinations of two cultivars at 25% increments before planting. Crop maturity, lint yield, fiber quality, and textile processing were evaluated for both years. Some combinations resulted in differences in micronaire, fineness (linear density), and fiber length, which mostly followed the blend rates of the constituent cultivars. Although there were some statistical differences, no functional differences were observed for yield, textile processing, or textile quality. The most significant result was the movement of one set of blends from the base range of micronaire to the premium range. The results showed that in-field blending of cultivars could be done without harming quality or resultant textiles, as long as the cultivars are carefully selected for similar seed characteristics and maturation timing. Individual producers will have to determine if the benefits and risks are worthwhile for their specific situation.