Cottonseed meal is considerably less expensive than soybean meal. “The value is less because of gossypol; we want to increase that value, lower refinery costs and go after more high value uses.”

Fish meal, for instance, costs more than $1,200 a ton, and is used extensively in aquaculture, especially for shrimp production. Substituting half of the fish meal ration with cottonseed would be more economical for shrimp producers and provide another use for cottonseed.

Products such as cottonseed flour “are long-term,” Hake says, but gin byproducts offer new opportunities for cotton. “Building materials, packaging, mulch and artificial turf are being made from gin byproducts.”

Studies of cotton varieties that have better nitrogen efficiency are also under way, along with other genetic research.

Breeding efforts include both transgenic and conventional varieties, Hake says. A new conventional variety, developed through cooperative research by Cotton Incorporated and the University of Arkansas, has just been released — UA-48 produces “exceptional quality,” he says. “Conventional cotton can be produced with high quality and good yields.

Nematode management is another cutting edge issue needin g increased attention, he says. “Looking for a nematode-resistant gene will play an increasingly important role with the loss of Temik.”

Cotton Incorporated researchers’ work will allow producers to “push up yields and to push down costs,” Hake says.