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"Terrifying" cotton prices are coming to a store near you
Gap Inc., J.C. Penney Co., and other U.S. retailers may have to pay Chinese suppliers as much as 30 percent more for clothes as surging cotton prices boost costs.
"It's a little terrifying to deal with cotton suppliers now," said Vicky Wu, a sales manager at Suzhou Unitedtex Enterprise Ltd., a closely held, Jiangsu province-based clothes maker that counts Gap and J.C. Penney among its clients.
Cotton futures in China have surged more than 70 percent this year and were at a record earlier as the global economy emerged from recession, allowing people to spend more on clothes. Production of the fiber in China, the world's biggest user and importer, is forecast to lag behind demand for a 12th year, cutting its stockpile to the smallest since 1995, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"American consumers better get used to rising prices on the shelves of Wal-Mart and other retailers," said Jessica Lo, Shanghai-based managing director at China Market Research Group. "China's manufacturers are getting squeezed not only by rising cotton costs but also soaring real estate and labor costs."
Resistance evolves after a weed population has been subjected to intense selection pressure in the form of repeated use of a single herbicide. These weeds resistant to the herbicide have been called "Superweeds". In the US 7 to 10 million acres (40,000 km2) of soil is afflicted by those superweeds. The first documented cases of weed resistance to glyphosate were found in Australia, involving rigid ryegrass near Orange, New South Wales. Some farmers in the United States have expressed concern that weeds are now developing with glyphosate resistance, with 13 states now reporting resistance, and this poses a problem to many farmers, including cotton farmers, that are now heavily dependent on glyphosate to control weeds. Farmers associations are now reporting 103 biotypes of weeds within 63 weed species with herbicide resistance. This problem is likely to be exacerbated by the use of Roundup Ready crops. Fifteen weed species have been confirmed as resistant to glyphosate.
Within a week, two farmers in neighbouring villages in Wardha district killed themselves. Their Bt cotton crops were devastated by lalya, a disease that caused the cotton plants to redden and wilt . [...] Agricultural scientists said lalya points to a lack of micronutrients and moisture content in the soil. Lalya develops with pest attacks, moisture stress and lack of micronutrients in the soil. The plant’s chlorophyll decreases with nitrogen deficiency, resulting in another pigment, anthocyanin, which turns the foliage red. If reddening starts before boll formation, it results in a 25 percent drop in yield, said a scientist from the Central Institute of Cotton Research at Nagpur, who wished to remain anonymous. “Lalya is here to stay.” He declared. According to the agricultural scientists, the disease has its roots in the American Bt technology that India imported. Almost all of the 500-plus Bt seed varieties sold in India in 2009 are of the same parentage, the American variety Coker312 Bt cotton, a top CICR scientist said. They are F1 hybrids, crossed with Indian varieties. Coker-312 (initially from Monsanto) showed high susceptibility to attacks by sucking pests like jassids and thrips. The thrips disperse within plant cells, while jassids suck the sap as they multiply under a leaf’s surface, forcing the plant to draw more nutrients from the soil, aggravating the soil’s nutritional deficiency. Another characteristic of Bt cotton that depletes the soil is that the bolls come to fruition simultaneously, draining the soil all at once. In a region like Vidarbha, plants wilt in two or three days. “It is like drawing blood from anemic woman.”
Originally posted by westcoast
Maybe now would be a good time to get into the cotton growing business? I'll bet there's some good farmland out there just laying dormant, 'dirt' cheap in this economic environment!!