Cotton is an important crop around the world.
It is used in making clothes and textiles. It is used a lot
because it is easy to spin into yarn, and can be washed and dyed.
Cottonseed is also used for furniture padding, cotton
swabs, and in the manufacturing of plastics, rayon,
The leftovers [the husks]
are used as cattle feed. The
seed centers are used for cottonseed oil.
Other parts of the cotton plant are used for feed, flour, oil
refining, and other industrial products.
Cotton seeds are planted in the spring.
In three weeks flower buds come out. The cotton plant
itself looks like a small tree or shrub and is between two and five
feet tall. The flower
bud [called a square] blooms into a white flower.
When the flower dries and falls off, a boll—or seed pod is
formed. Each branch of
the cotton plant might grow several bolls.
the seed pod, there are 20-40 seeds plus white fibers.
When the pod dries and splits open, the fibers and seeds are
ready to pick. After
harvest, the leftover stalks and plants are plowed under and left in
the ground. Planting
begins between February and June.
needs a long growing season, lots of sunshine and water plus drier
weather during harvest time. This
means that cotton is most often grown in tropical or subtropical
climates. In the United
States, it is grown in the Cotton Belt.
The biggest cotton states are Texas, California, Georgia,
Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Arizona and North Carolina. Cotton
is a big money crop for the United States.
The only crops that are bigger are corn, soybeans, hay and
wheat. Other countries
that grow a lot of cotton are China, India, and Pakistan.
Most U.S. cotton is planted and harvested by machine.
or strippers are used to yank out the cotton from the seed