Many small farmers grew cotton, but the most efficient and extensive producers were planters with gangs of slave labor. Planting began in early spring; slaves spent the long hot days of summer thinning the plants and chopping out menacing weeds; picking started in late August and continued for several months. Planters then ginned, pressed, and baled their cotton on the plantation before shipping it to market—usually New Orleans, Charleston, Savannah, or Mobile—typically consigning it to factors who sold it to representatives of American and European mills. Factors purchased supplies and other goods for their clients and then, after deducting expenses and commissions, remitted the net proceeds of the crop to the planter.

The processing of raw cotton by modern methods begins with the breaking of compressed bales (average weight 478 pounds). Bale breakers, openers, and pickers loosen and blend the tufts of cotton and remove impurities. Carding engines complete the cleaning process, eliminate short


Demand of Cotton

Despite a robust demand from Bangladesh, overall cotton yarn exports remained under pressure during the current financial year due to sluggish demand from China. For the April–December 2016, India’s cotton yarn exports slumped by 12 per cent to 872.19 million kgs from 987.21 million kgs in the corresponding period last year. Cotton yarn exports from India rose by a marginal 4.29 per cent at 1307.11 million kgs for the financial year 2015-16 from 1253.33 million kgs for the previous year.

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