As the world largest cotton consumer and the second largest producer of cotton, China has a long history of cotton cultivation.
There are three major cotton production areas in China, which are Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the Yellow River basin and the Yangtze River basin. Among them, the Xinjiang cotton is highly regarded because of its high yield and high quality.
With the large-scale popularization of mechanization in agricultural production in Xinjiang, the mechanical picking rate of cotton in Xinjiang has reached 69.83 percent, among which Jinghe County has achieved 100 percent mechanized harvesting by 2020, according to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of Xinjiang.
According to National Bureau of Statistics, Xinjiang produced about 5.161 million tons of cotton in 2020, accounting for 87.3 percent of the country's total production.
What makes Xinjiang cotton world-class?
1. Abundant light and heat
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the genus Gossypium in the mallow family Malvaceae. It is a light-loving crop which is suitable for growing under sufficient light conditions.
Located in the hinterland of Eurasia, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has a typical temperate continental climate. Drought, little rain, sufficient heat, big temperature difference between day and night and long day make a good growth environment for cotton.
2. Abundant irrigation water resource
Located inland, though Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has little rainfall, it has a large number of snow-capped mountains, from which meltwater gives cotton abundant irrigation water resource. Meanwhile, in contrast to the instability of precipitation in the monsoon regions, mountain snowmelt has the characteristics of stable water transportation, which is very suitable for the growth of cotton.
3. Vast planting area
Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is sparsely populated and has a vast planting area. It has an area of 1.66 million square kilometers and a population of about 23 million. The cotton planting area covers 25,019.3 square kilometers in 2020, according to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of Xinjiang.
The combination of advantaged natural conditions and mechanical technology makes Xinjiang cotton have good quality. Endless white cotton has also become one of the symbols of great beauty in Xinjiang.
(All images via VCG)
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