The term “cotton classification” in this publication refers to the application of official standards and standardized procedures developed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for measuring those physical attributes of raw cotton that affect the quality of the finished product and/or manufacturing efficiency. USDA’s classing methodology is based on both grade and instrument standards used hand-in-hand with state-of-the-art methods and equipment to provide the cotton industry with the best possible information on cotton quality for marketing and processing. USDA classification currently consists of determinations of fiber length, length uniformity, fiber strength, micronaire, color, trash, leaf, and extraneous matter.
USDA Classing Process
In this video, Darryl Earnest of the USDA discusses how cotton is evaluated and classified in the United States as well as his division’s role in supporting U.S. cotton producers.
Fiber Quality Effects on Yarn and Fabric
The USDA classes U.S. cotton and these grades reflect the overall quality and price of cotton while also having an impact on yarn and fabric quality. It is important to understand the impacts of quality when sourcing cotton for various products.