• Types and Growth Conditions Required for Cotton Cultivations

Cotton Cultivations: Types and Growth Conditions Required for Cotton Cultivations!

Cotton is the main natural fiber accounting for about 50 per cent of the world’s fiber supply. Besides being the source of fiber, cotton plant is also the basic raw material for the production of edible oil and cotton seed meal.

The latter is one of the world’s principle oilseeds, one-fifth of the cotton seed is crude protein, yielding 5 to 6 per cent of aggregate world protein supply.

The use of cotton fiber to make textiles was known to ancient Egyptians, and cotton has been the major textile in China, India and Central Asia for centuries. But cotton textile remained a luxury in Europe until the 18th century when invention of cotton ginning machines and of mechanised spinning and weaving processes allowed it to be cheaply mass-produced.

Thus, in the 19th century, the cotton textile industry was not only started but grew faster in Europe and in other parts of the world, which resulted in the growth of cotton in various parts of the world.

Types of Cotton:

Cotton is derived from the hair surrounding the seeds of plants of the Gossypium family. There are many varieties of the plant, some of which originated in Eurasia and some in the Americas, while modern varieties have been developed by breeding and hybridisation.

On the basis of staple length of the fiber, there are three main types of cotton:

(i) Long Staple:

Staple length of this cotton varies between 25 to 65 mm. The major growing areas are Egypt, Sudan, Haiti, Peru, USA etc.

(ii) Medium Staple:

This is also called upland American cotton. Staple length varies between 15 to 35 mm. Mostly grows in India, China, Brazil, Argentina, etc. This variety comprises maximum production of global cotton.

(iii) Short Staple:

Mostly varies between 8 to 25 mm in length. It is low quality cotton and mostly found in China and India.

Conditions of Growth:

The following physical and economic conditions are required for the cotton cultivation:

Physical Conditions:

(i) Temperature:

Cotton grows in tropical and sub-tropical warm humid climate. Annual temperature requirement is 20°-28°C. Equitable temper­ature distribution and bright sunshine is desirable.

(ii) Rainfall:

Annual rainfall of 55-100 cm is ideal for cotton Cultivation.

Rainfall during harvesting is harmful.

(iii) Frost-free Days:

About 180 frost-free days are the bottom-line for cotton cultivation. At least 200 frost-free days are desirable for cotton cultivation.

(iv) Soil:

Fertile, saline soil with high water-retention capacity is ideal for cotton cultivation. Loamy soil with high calcium carbonate is best for cotton culti­vation.

(v) Relief:

Slight slope of the land drains the soil and is good for cotton culti­vation.

Economic Conditions:

(i) Labour:

Cotton cultivation is very labour-intensive, large number of cheap labour is required.

(ii) Capital:

Mechanised cotton cultivation requires huge capital for machinery, pesticides and fertilisers.

(iii) Transport/Market:

As it is essentially a commercial crop, for export facilities good transport network and steady demand in international market are pre-requisites.



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