Different ways to use cottonseed: Making the crop sustainable by using the entire crop

PYCO industries in Lubbock turns cottonseed into four products.
Published: Sep. 24, 2023 at 8:59 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The fiber that comes from cotton makes everyday products like clothes and linens, but most people don’t think about another part of the crop that is also in our everyday life. Cottonseed is made into products we use daily.

Once the cotton gins separate the fiber from the seed, that seed isn’t thrown away. It’s sent to cottonseed cooperatives like PYCO Industries on Avenue A and East 34th Street in Lubbock.

The president of the company, Robert Lacy, said there it’s made into four different products.

“It’s in all kinds of products across from the East coast to the West coast,” Lacy said.

One way the seed is used is to feed our dairy source. Lacy said PYCO makes two types of cattle feed, cottonseed hulls and cottonseed meal.

“In this area the cottonseed’s, 50% of it or more, probably 60% of it, is fed to dairy cattle,” Lacy said.

You have probably eaten it through the oil that can be made from the seed.

“Cottonseed oil is used in margarines, shortenings; the biggest use for it for us in the chip market,” Lacy said.

You may recognize some of the brands that use cottonseed oil in their products. Lacy said On the Border cooks its chips in cottonseed oil along with many other companies because of the benefits. Lacy said the oil has a high smoke point and high flash point.

“When they cook in that high heat, it doesn’t start catching on fire or smoke or anything else like that,” Lacy said.

Although you’ve probably eaten it, you most likely didn’t taste it. Lacy said it has a neutral, bland flavor that the companies like because it brings out the flavor of the product.

“So, if you cook a potato chip you taste potato. If you cook fish, you taste the fish, you don’t taste the oil,” Lacy said. “Other oils have a taste that they carry with it, a nutty or some kind of other flavor.”

PYCO also makes cotton linters, which are the short fibers attached to the seed that can be used for many things like paper.

Lacy said all of these products make cotton a sustainable crop because nothing is wasted.

“Every pound of the seed that comes into here we’ll use in some sort of a product,” Lacy said. “So, everything that a cotton plant produces is used.”

Cotton harvest is coming up and Lacy expects the gins to get the first batch of seed to PYCO Industries in November.