When talking about sustainability, the difference between organic cotton and traditional cotton is often misunderstood or misrepresented. In fact, there is not much difference in planting practices between the two production systems. The source of seeds and the chemical technology used to grow and protect crops. Organic cotton growers cannot use biotech (genetically modified) seeds, and in most cases, cannot use synthetic pesticides, unless other more preferred methods are not sufficient to prevent or control target pests1,7. Technically speaking, organic cotton must be grown on land where there are no prohibited substances within three years. In the United States, organic cotton needs to be verified by a third party and certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Traditional cotton growers have greater freedom. They can grow bio-transgenic technology seeds or traditional breeding seeds. They can use synthetic or natural nutrients and crop protection agents, or a combination of the two. Does traditional cotton require more water than organic cotton? Generally speaking, no more water is needed. The crop’s production system (organic or traditional) has no effect on its water demand. The water requirement is determined by the planting area and the specific variety of cotton. In addition, both production systems can benefit from soil health practices (regenerative agriculture, use of cover crops, multiple crop rotations, etc.), which have been shown to significantly increase soil organic matter and water storage capacity. Are the fiber yields of organic cotton and traditional cotton equivalent? Generally speaking, the fiber yield per acre of organic
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