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LOGO: Journal of Cotton Science


Cotton Revenue Apportioned between Lint Yield and Fiber Quality: A Precision Agriculture Perspective

Authors: Yufeng Ge, J. Alex Thomasson, Cristine L.S. Morgan, Scott M. Stanislav, and Ruixiu Sui
Pages: 274-281
Engineering and Ginning

Cotton fiber quality has been emphasized by breeders, ginners, and textile processors but not among growers as an in-season crop-management consideration. Whereas many studies have shown in-field cotton fiber-quality variation, the amount observed is usually small compared to that of lint yield, casting doubt on the usefulness of site-specific crop management for fiber-quality improvement. The goal of this study was to elucidate the inter-related effects of lint yield and fiber quality on in-field revenue variation. With more clarity in this regard, growers can better understand how to improve revenue and potentially profit, and determine whether it would be worthwhile for them to manage fiber quality on a site-specific basis. Field studies were conducted in two cotton fields near College Station, Texas. Lint yield and fiber quality data were collected. Loan-rate maps were produced by integrating fiber-quality parameter maps with the USDA-CCC Loan Schedules, and gross revenue maps were produced by combining lint-yield and loan-rate maps. In-field variation of revenue was separated into two components: one associated with in-field variation of lint yield and the other associated with in-field variation of fiber quality. The results showed that, for the first field, the standard deviation (SD) of revenue was $181 ha-1 ($73.2 ac.-1), with fiber quality variation being about 13% as important as yield variation. In the second field, the SD of revenue was $216 ha-1 ($87.4 ac.-1), with fiber quality variation being about 31% as important. While lint yield was the primary factor in determining overall revenue, the contribution of fiber quality was substantial and should not be overlooked, especially when high input costs and small profit margins are considered.