Cotton Growth under No-Till Production in the Lower Mississippi River Valley Alluvial Flood Plain
- William T. Pettigrew *a and
- Michael A. Jonesb
Declining profit margins have forced Mississippi Delta cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) producers to consider conservation tillage as a means of reducing production inputs. Due to limited experience and research with conservation tillage in the Mississippi Delta, our objectives were to determine how no-till production affected cotton growth, light interception, dry matter partitioning, yield, and fiber quality compared with conventional tillage. Six cotton genotypes were evaluated in no-till and conventional tillage systems in 1997 and 1998. Data for dry matter partitioning, light interception, bloom counts, nodes above white bloom (NAWB), lint yield, yield components, and fiber quality were collected. Slower emergence delayed development of the no-till cotton throughout both seasons. No-till plants averaged 42% less leaf area index (LAI) during prebloom and 27% less LAI at midbloom than plants in conventional tillage before recovering to have similar late-season LAI. Conventional tillage plants intercepted 28% more sunlight during prebloom and 17% more sunlight at midbloom before both tillage treatments reached canopy closure late in the season. Flower production and cutout (NAWB = 5) were delayed in no-till compared with conventional tillage. Lint yield was 11% lower in the no-till treatment than in conventional tillage due primarily to an 8% reduction in the number of bolls m−2 Fiber quality traits were inconsistently altered by tillage treatments across years. The delayed blooming period of the no-till plants meant that these plants may have encountered slightly different weather during bloom, possibly contributing to the yield and fiber quality differences between treatments.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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