Cotton Seed Meal – Contaminated With Pesticides or GMO

Q: You recently wrote about using ground cotton seed as an organic fertilizer. But isn’t cotton one of the most heavily pesticide-ridden crops in the USA?

A: It’s true that conventional cotton was once grown using high amounts of pesticides.

But the last decade has seen a remarkable decrease in the amount of pesticides used, mostly due to to use of genetically modified (GMO) seeds. GMO cotton seed prevent boll weevil damage and make the cotton plants tolerate glyphosate (Roundup, etc), to lessen herbicide use.

In my view, there is little likelihood that cotton seed meal would contain anything harmful to humans or animals. On the other hand, you may not wish to “support” GMO cotton by your purchase of the meal and that is your right.

However, alternatives have their own potential drawbacks.Feather meal might come from chickens fed GMO corn. Alfalfa meal might come from alfalfa treated with pesticides to control weeds and insects. The same is true for flaxseed meal. Your best bet for organic fertilizer might be to collect manure from organically raised chickens or cows.

The Growth of Genetically Modified Food

cotton boll

cotton in landscape