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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ENHANCING QUALITY, UTILITY, SUSTAINABILITY, ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF COTTON AND ITS BYPRODUCTS THROUGH IMPROVEMENT IN HARVEST/GIN PROCESSING

Location: Cotton Ginning Research

Title: Cotton thermal defoliation economics

Authors
item Funk, Paul
item Armijo, Carlos
item Hawkes, Gerry -
item Libben, James -

Submitted to: Journal of American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 20, 2011
Publication Date: June 13, 2012
Citation: Funk, P.A., Armijo, C.B., Hawkes, G.M., Libben, J.D. 2012. Cotton thermal defoliation economics. Journal of American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. 75(1):29-42.

Interpretive Summary: Cotton harvest-aid chemical costs and application expenses are justified by increased quantity and value of harvested fiber, and decreased harvest costs. Chemical use is restricted in certain production situations, and may be taxed or further curtailed in the future. Thermal defoliation is an effective alternative to conventional chemical harvest preparation, but it may cost twice as much per acre. Thermal defoliation (organic) and chemical harvest aids (conventional) Pima cotton were compared using a crop cost and return estimator. A positive return to land and risk can be obtained for organic Pima if yields are greater than 600 pounds per acre and prices are over $1.79 per pound; with conventional production, where yields may be above 750 pounds per acre, a positive return can be realized with prices above $1.20 per pound. Thermal defoliation allows early harvest without the chemicals deemed necessary to produce a high-quality conventional crop, but a price premium is necessary to make it viable.

Technical Abstract: Cotton harvest-aid chemical and application expenses are justified by increased quantity and value of harvested fiber, and decreased harvest costs. Chemical use may be restricted in certain production situations. Harvest preparation costs and producer returns were compared for thermal defoliation in organic and chemical harvest aids in conventional Pima cotton using a crop cost and return estimator. A positive return to land and risk can be reached for organic Pima with yields greater than 600 pounds per acre and prices over $1.79 per pound. Thermal defoliation allows early harvest without the chemicals deemed necessary to produce a high-quality conventional crop.

Last Modified: 12/18/2014