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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 97 No. 1, p. 235-240
     
    Received: Feb 24, 2004


    * Corresponding author(s): cbednarz@tifton.uga.edu
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doi:10.2134/agronj2005.0235

Yield, Quality, and Profitability of Cotton Produced at Varying Plant Densities

  1. Craig W. Bednarz *a,
  2. W. Don Shurleyb,
  3. W. Stanley Anthonyc and
  4. Robert L. Nicholsd
  1. a Univ. of Georgia, Coastal Plain Exp. Stn., P.O. Box 748, Tifton, GA 31793
    b Univ. of Georgia, Rural Dev. Cent., P.O. Box 1209, Tifton, GA 31793
    c USDA-ARS Cotton Ginning Res. Unit, P.O. Box 256, Stoneville, MS 38776
    d Cotton Incorporated, 6399 Weston Parkway, Cary, NC 27513

Abstract

Modifying fruit distribution through varying plant density may impact cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) fiber quality. This study was conducted to determine how lint yield, fiber quality, and profitability of cotton may be manipulated through plant density. Two cotton cultivars were overseeded and hand-thinned to 3.6, 9.0, 12.6, and 21.5 plants m−2 at two University of Georgia experiment stations in 2001 and 2002. After the studies were machine-harvested each year, the seed cotton was shipped to the USDA-ARS Cotton Ginning Research Unit in Stoneville, MS, for ginning. While ginning, six lint samples were collected per plot and delivered to Cotton Incorporated (Cary, NC) for fiber quality analyses. Net returns were then calculated from yield, quality, and seed cost data. Lint yields were greatest at 12.6 plants m−2 and lowest at 3.6 plants m−2 Of the fiber properties investigated, micronaire and fineness were most affected by plant density. In addition, quality adjustments in price were greatest for micronaire. Thus, avoidance of price discounts for high-micronaire fiber may occur through adjustments in seeding rate and plant density. Net returns above seed costs were greatest at 12.6 plants m−2 for both cultivars. One cultivar consistently outperformed the other in fiber quality. Results from this study support the findings of others that fiber properties are highly genetically influenced. Thus, to maximize fiber quality, cultivar selection is of greatest importance while management of plant density to maintain or maximize genetic potential is secondary.

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