Although US cotton currently has a reputation as one of the least contaminated sources in the world, USDA-AMS Cotton Programs reported more ‘other extraneous matter’ during 2017 than ever before- primarily due to plastic. Beginning in 2018, a new remark for plastic contamination will be included in the classing process. Unfortunately, the negative financial implications associated with receiving a plastic remark could potentially spread beyond a single bale. As a result, I’ve personally heard several refer to plastic contamination as the biggest single threat to the US cotton industry.
In response, the National Cotton Council has developed several training videos. The widespread rains which have swept through the area will likely prevent much field activity over the next few days. I would encourage you to make time now for everyone within your operation to watch these videos. A large portion of plastic contamination has been linked to the mishandling of round modules which can easily addressed. Care must also be taken to remove other sources of plastic from fields, particularly along field edges bordering shopping centers, homes or roads. Colored plastic is very easy to see immediately after defoliating, and given our current weather, now would be a great time to address those areas.