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South Plains cotton primed for quality improvement

image image As fiber length and strength have improved over the past six years, South Plains cotton – typically spun into such sturdy staples as blue jeans and tube socks – could now be fit for high-quality yarns, according to researchers at Texas Tech University’s International Textile Center.

Performance. In a recent issue of the International Textile Center’s Textile Topics, Mourad Krifa, head of textile research, and Dean Ethridge, the center’s managing director, report on ongoing research assessing the performance of cotton grown on the Texas High Plains.

The results revealed in “Texas Plains Cotton Performance in High Value-added Ring-spinning applications: A Progress Report,” are promising for Texas Cotton Producers and their global cotton/textile industry customers.

Innovations. “Historically, cotton produced on the High Plains of Texas has been perceived as a ‘below the waist’ product—that is, it has serviced lower-quality items like jeans and socks,” Ethridge said. “Innovations in seed genetics, production technologies and practices and ginning have all led to the potential to change that perception. We believe research like this performance study will help Texas producers apply the innovations and encourage the merchandising and textile sectors to seek these improved cottons.”

The article compares the quality and processing performance of cotton bales produced in the Texas Plains to those produced in California’s San Joaquin Valley. (The bales selected were essentially the same quality, based USDA HVI classifications). While the study shows that quality yarns can be spun from local cottons, the potential for further improvement is significant.

Leading Source. “If the improving trends observed over the last decade are maintained and further pursued, West Texas may well become a leading source of premium cotton fiber in the U.S. and in the world,” Krifa said.

Contact: Mike Stephens, communications coordinator, International Textile Center, Texas Tech University, (806) 747-3790 x513 or

Note: For a free downloadable copy of the Textile Topics article, “Texas Plains Cotton Performance in High Value-added Ring-spinning applications: A Progress Report,” visit the Web site:


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