If the 2013 cotton-growing season could be described in terms of bedtime stories, Goldilocks and the Three Bears comes to mind. Some regions of the Cotton Belt were much too rainy, and others were much too dry. But in a few regions, everything was just right, with nearly perfect combinations of sunshine and precipitation.

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In recent years, cotton varieties are being judged not only by their ability to break records when weather is ideal, but to hang in there under extremely stressful environmental conditions. For 2014, seed companies are offering new cultivars that suit a range of grower tastes, including new insect control technology, root-knot nematode resistance, wide adaptability, improved fiber quality and higher yield potential. Descriptions are provided by the seed companies.