Cotton is a commodity that has been in demand for a long time and will continue to be for a long time to come. This is due to the fact that cotton is the only natural material used in the production of fibers and other textile materials; and the seed is also needed for the production of cotton oil.
The cotton plant is an annual plant and requires warm climate conditions to grow effectively. Starting a cotton plantation is a business investment that will allow you to obtain continuous benefits in a long time due to the continuous demand of the cotton product.
The only problem is that the business is capital and labor intensive (most of the capital will be devoted to acquiring a piece of land for the farm g). This article will go through the step by step process of how to start a cotton farm; and how to get the cotton product to the consumers.
Things you need to start a cotton farm
To start and run a successful cotton farm, you need to have the following:
- Large acreage: Starting a cotton farm means that you want to manage it in a commercial quantity, so you will need a large acreage to start the business. You can either actually buy the land or you can enter into a lease with a land owner that will be maintained for a long time.
- Capitalization: The cotton business is a bit capital intensive. Aside from the capital needed to acquire a piece of land for the farm, you need to get or lease other farm equipment such as a tractor, get fertilizer and pesticides in bulk since the cotton plant is subtle to pest attacks. Finally, you need a means of transportation to get the cotton or cotton seed from your farm to the buyer’s location, and all this requires sufficient capital to do so.
Starting a Cotton Farm Business
1. Check the profitability of cotton in your locality:
The first step you should take to start a cotton growing business is to carry out a research on the profitability of your cotton in your locality. Profitability has to do with conducting research on the demand for cotton.
If there is a rapid demand for cotton products, then you have a profitable business. In addition, you have to check the competition in the business. If there are more cotton farmers than the demand requires in your location, then you have to look for another location with less competition or find a way to break the competition.
2. Develop a Business Plan:
Your business plan will help you get an idea of what your business will be like. You need to consider all factors when writing your business plan, including finances and capital, whether the business will operate as a company or just as a business name, the location of the farm, the list of potential buyers and your business objectives for the first five years of operation.
3. Acquiring a large amount of land:
As I mentioned in the previous part of this article, it takes a large amount of land to start growing cotton in a commercial quantity. The land should be in a place where there is a lot of sun and no snow or a swampy environment. If you are going to lease the land, the lease period should be at least 10 years; you don’t want to start looking for new farmland when you just started your current farm.
4. Source of Good Seeds:
The quality of the cotton seed you plant will determine the quality of cotton product you will get when you harvest. You can get cotton seed from local farmers; they will be able to provide you with healthy seed to plant.
The cotton plant is a bit sensitive to timing, which means that the timing of planting the cotton seeds is very important. The plant will yield poorly if planted too early or too late. Find out with other farmers when it is the best time to grow your cotton seed.
6. Take care of pests and weeds:
As the cotton seed starts to sprout, you should be aware and take care of the pest, especially the cotton weevils. These pests can affect the yield or productivity of the cotton plant. You can help control the effect of pests by regularly spraying pesticides on cotton to help keep them away.
Grass is another thing to take care of as the cotton plant matures. You can hire and pay workers to come and weed every other month. Keep in mind that you should avoid using chemicals to kill weeds, as they can end up affecting the cotton plants as well.
The cotton plant is an annual plant, which means that it takes one year for the plant to reach maturity from the time it was grown. You know your cotton plant is ready for harvest when the bud is in bloom and the white cotton flower is visible. The cotton flower and seed is the commercial part of the cotton plant that you need. You can still employ the services of workers to help pick the cotton flower for you.
8. Transportation to Buyers or Cotton Gins:
The cotton flower should be sold to the cotton growers, since it has been harvested to avoid a boiling attack of the cotton. This is why you should investigate and make sure there is a market ready for your product even before you start cultivation.
After you have finished harvesting, you should spread the word to your potential buyers that your cotton flower is ready for sale. One way to get more buyers is to offer them free transportation of the cotton flower from your farm to any place of their choice and also give them the option to pay upon delivery.