Before the introduction of Bt and Roundup Ready cotton, all cotton was “conventional,” a term now used to describe cotton that doesn’t have either the Bt or Roundup Ready traits. Every year we hear of a few farmers scattered out across GA that still grow conventional cotton or have gone back to growing conventional cotton after many years of growing only transgenic cotton. Surprisingly, GA has the most conventional cotton acres in the US. The latest data from USDA-AMS for all upland cotton varieties planted in the US in 2014 indicates that 2.61% of GA cotton was conventional, which equates to about 36,000 acres in 2014. The next highest percentage is in California at 0.42%. Texas, the largest cotton growing state, was 0.25% conventional in 2014, or about 15,500 acres.
In GA, most of this conventional cotton was AM UA48, a University of Arkansas variety, sold by Americot. Be on the lookout for a more in depth article about conventional cotton in our next newsletter published in Southeast Farm Press.
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