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Agronomy Journal Abstract - COTTON

Improved Yield Potential with an Early Planting Cotton Production System


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 94 No. 5, p. 997-1003
    Received: Nov 19, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): bpettigrew@ars.usda.gov
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  1. William T. Pettigrew *
  1. USDA-ARS, Crop Genetics and Production Research Unit, P.O. Box 345, Stoneville, MS 38776


Mid-South cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) has reached a yield plateau in recent years. Shifting the growing season earlier in the year by planting earlier may allow the crop to develop under more favorable weather patterns and escape late season insects. The objectives were to determine the effect of early planting on growth and development, lint yield, and fiber quality of cotton. Early season dry matter partitioning, early season light interception, weekly bloom counts, lint yield, yield components, and fiber quality data were collected on genotypes planted during the first week of April (early planting) and the first week of May (normal planting). The data were collected from two experiments conducted over the years 1996 to 2000. Early June leaf area index of the early planted plants was 172% greater than plants in the normal planting, which contributed to a 55% greater canopy light interception for the early planting at that time. Early planting shifted the blooming period earlier in the growing season every year but 1997. Four out of 5 yr, the early planted cotton demonstrated a 10% yield improvement over the normal planted crop. In 1997, the early planted crop was stunted by an early season cold period, and yet its yields were equivalent to the normal planted crop. Planting earlier than normal has the potential to provide for increased lint yields for Mississippi Delta cotton producers. Techniques to mitigate early cold temperature stress could help make the yield improvements found with this early planting production system more consistent.

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Copyright © 2002. American Society of AgronomyPublished in Agron. J.94:997–1003.