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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Early-Season Water Management for Cotton1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 70 No. 6, p. 1009-1012
    Received: Mar 9, 1978

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  1. D. W. Grimes,
  2. W. L. Dickens and
  3. H. Yamada2



Vegetative development of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) in early season affects plant responses through the entire growth period. In the irrigated West, soils are usually irrigated before planting. With soils initially wet, scheduling a first irrigation is important to achieving desired plant growth and development. A 2-year field study was conducted on contrasting soils to evaluate how first irrigation scheduling affected vegetative growth, maturity rate, and production.

Main stem elongation was stimulated by a lower plant water deficit in early irrigations. Although a delayed first irrigation slowed vegetative growth through mid-June, when irrigations were normalized main stem elongation was accelerated well into the July and August fruiting period. Vegetative growth was frequently increased in the fruiting period by early first irrigations. Either early or late first irrigations delayed maturity.

A multiple regression model used to express relative yields (R2 = 0.72) had as independent variables the time of first irrigation (days after 30 April) and the water available to the plant in the top 61 cm of soil at planting. This yield equation predicted an optimum time for a first season irrigation from known soil water retention capability.

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