Working towards building a sustainable cotton industry for the future

Cotton fibre quality

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Long, uniform, strong, fine and mature cotton fibre provides better returns to growers and opens more market opportunities for premium fabrics.

Breeding

Most cotton fibre quality characteristics are determined by cotton variety.

CSIRO is breeding new cotton varieties with longer and stronger fibres that fall within the optimal micronaire (a measure of fineness and maturity) range.

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Gene technology

Several genes have been identified that could play an important role in the initial stages of cotton fibre development.

One of these genes may be responsible for switching cotton fibre growth on and off and influencing the number of fibres produced on a cotton seed. 

CSIRO is researching the exact role of these genes, and the genes involved in later stages of fibre development, when qualities such as strength are determined.

With a full picture of how different fibre genes operate, CSIRO hopes to:

CSIRO is researching the exact role of these genes, and the genes involved in later stages of fibre development, when qualities such as strength are determined.
  • breed cotton varieties with better quality fibre
  • produce cotton with novel fibre properties.

Crop management

Crop management can also affect many cotton fibre quality characteristics.

CSIRO is conducting specific research in agronomy and crop physiology for improving fibre quality including:

  • quantifying the differences in different row configurations in dryland cotton production systems to optimise the balance between yield and fibre quality  
  • quantifying the impacts of temperature and radiation on fibre quality traits  
  • understanding the impacts of different agronomic practices on fibre quality including  performance of premium fibre type varieties with different agronomy
  • quantifying the contribution of immature bolls on the level of neps in harvested cotton
  • development of methodologies and tools to predict the impact of climate and management on fibre quality. The development of a fibre module for the OZCOT crop simulation model has also added considerable value to the simulation model’s usefulness as it allows virtual experimentation on management effects on both yield and quality together.
  • conducting research that investigates the impact of the farming system on fibre quality through to performance of textile production. 


References

Roundup Ready™ and Roundup Ready Flex™ are trade marks owned by the Monsanto Company.