Department of Cotton
Cotton is the most important fibre crop of India. It occupies an area of 1.69 lakh hectares in Tamil Nadu and records an annual production of 3.16 lakh bales against the mill consumption 50.00 lakh bales (2000-01).
In the beginning of this century, Madras cottons were composed of the two asiatic species G .herbaceum L. race weightianum and G. arboreum L. race indicum. The chance introduction of an annual race of G .hirsutum (latifolium) by East India Company in 1898 opened up new vistas in cotton improvement in Tamil Nadu. The first Cotton Research Station was started in 1901 at Kovilpatti. Cotton Breeding Station, Coimbatore was established in 1922 and a Cotton Specialist was appointed in 1924. This station is located at an elevation of 426.72 MSL and between 11½N latitude and 77½N longitude. The total area is 20 hectares having red clay and laterite soils. The station receives an annual rainfall of 625 mm, a lions share being received from North East Monsoon season. A fillip to cotton research was given when All India Co-ordinated Cotton Improvement Project was launched in the year 1967.
The Department of Cotton is the main centre for Cotton Research in Tamil Nadu with sub centres at Kovilpatti (for rainfed tract), Srivilliputhur (for summer irrigated tract) and Aduthurai (for rice fallow tract). The other cooperating centres are Regional Research Station, Paiyur; Regional Research Station, Aruppukottai and Agricultural Research Station, Vaigaidam.