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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Effects of Topping Pima Cotton on Lint Yield and Boll Retention1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 69 No. 1, p. 65-67
    Received: July 26, 1976

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  1. D. L. Kittock and
  2. K. E. Fry2



Substantial mid- and late-season topping of American Pima cotton (Gossypium barbadense L.) plants occurs in field plantings. Lygus bug (Lygus hesperus Knight) feeding is the apparent cause of topping. The effects of mid to late.season topping on lint yield and several yield components of ‘Pima S-4’ cotton were examined. Topping of Pima S-4 cotton in mid-July, early.August, and mid-August reduced plant height, reduced the number of main stem nodes, increased boll set on top fruiting branches, and resulted in additional branch nodes on top fruiting branches. Plants topped 17 July produced 300%, 100%, and 60% more bolls on the first, second, and third branch, respectively, below the point of topping than did the check plants. The effect was less when topping was later in the season. The yield patterns in lower branches were not different from the checks. Topping did not affect: 1) lint yield (3 years), 2) number of bolls set, seed/boll, 4) lint/boll, 5) lint/seed, 6) seed weight, days to boll maturity, or 8) pink bollworm infestation. Fruit set was not delayed by topping. Fruiting points, which aborted on normal plants, produced bolls on topped plants up to the potential for the cultivar and environment. This has important implications for studies on insect damage to plants and for efforts to increase lint yield by reducing boll abscission.

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