Bayer aims to boost cotton industry in SWGA - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Bayer aims to boost cotton industry in SWGA

Georgia farmers grow more cotton than any other crop. (Source: WALB) Georgia farmers grow more cotton than any other crop. (Source: WALB)
Last year, the state produced more than $825 million worth of cotton and cotton seed. (Source: WALB) Last year, the state produced more than $825 million worth of cotton and cotton seed. (Source: WALB)
That number could grow thanks to a new facility that officially opened Thursday. (Source: WALB) That number could grow thanks to a new facility that officially opened Thursday. (Source: WALB)
Monty Christian is the vice president of Bayer cotton operations. (Source: WALB) Monty Christian is the vice president of Bayer cotton operations. (Source: WALB)
Dr. Margaret Shields, Bayer US Cotton Breeding Manager. (Source: WALB) Dr. Margaret Shields, Bayer US Cotton Breeding Manager. (Source: WALB)
DAWSON, GA (WALB) -

Georgia farmers grow more cotton than any other crop.

Last year, the state produced more than $825 million worth of cotton and cotton seed.

That number could grow thanks to a new facility that officially opened Thursday.

Monty Christian is the vice president of Bayer cotton operations.

Bayer opened the Southeast Cotton Breeding station in Dawson that Christian believes is going to benefit area farmers.

"It's going to be so nice to have a dedicated facility to this region," said Christian

Bayer has been doing research to breed different varieties, but they never had a permanent location to do so. 

"In the past what we have done is try and bring in different varieties and then it always falls apart because of the specific climate that we have. But now these guys are here and will breed cotton for here," said Dr. Margaret Shields, Bayer US Cotton Breeding Manager.

At the 150-acre facility Bayer will do it all. From counting seeds to testing the quality of the fiber.

"We look to produce more cotton per acre," said Christian.

Bayer researchers will be watching closely how the cotton comes out of the ground early in the season, how it's adapting to the environment mid season and how the yield and fiber looks during harvest. 

"Today the advancements that breeding brings not only is increasing yield, it's increasing nematode tolerant varieties, varieties that are more drought resistant and varieties that perform under many environmental conditions," said Christian.

"I hope within the next five years we will have a great variety for these guys," said Shields.

This new facility will grow much of their own cotton, but they will also be testing cotton from other parts of Georgia as well Florida and Alabama. 

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