Genetically modified cotton
in 2002. This is 20% of the worldwide total area planted in cotton. The US cotton crop was 73% GM in 2003.
The introduction of GM cotton proved to be a commercial disaster in Australia - the yields were far lower than predicted, and the cotton plants cross-pollinated with other varieties of cotton potentially causing many legal problems for unsuspecting farmers. However the introduction of a second variety of GM cotton led to 15% of Australian cotton being GM in 2003 with an expectation of 80% in 2004 when the original variety will be banned
After weaving, cotton typically fabric passes through several processing stages. After some stages the fabric can be directly used in the final product, for example unbleached cloth is used in grain bags. Typical stages are:
Old British cotton yarn measures
- 1 thread = 54 inches (c. 137 cm)
- 1 skein or rap = 80 threads (120 yards or c. 109 m)
- 1 hank = 7 skeins (840 yards or c. 768 m)
- 1 spindle = 18 hanks (15,120 yards or c. 13.826 km)
Cotton is an enormously important commodity throughout the world. However, many farmers in developing countries receive a low price for their produce, or find it difficult to compete with developed countries. This has led to 'fair trade' cotton clothing being available in some countries.