ENHANCING THE SUSTAINABILITY OF COTTON PRODUCTION IN THE SOUTHEAST USA
Location: Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research
Project Number: 6657-21000-005-00
Start Date: Jun 05, 2004
End Date: Jan 12, 2009
1) Optimize cotton production systems for the southeastern U.S.A. that incorporate soil conservation and sustainable technologies, such as winter cover crops, reduced tillage, and poultry waste. Subobjectives are (a) to develop improved management practices in cotton production systems that include poultry litter or materials derived from poultry litter; (b) assess the feasibility of using late-summer legumes for soil improvement in rotations with cotton; and (c) relate water use to within-canopy boll size and quality distribution in a conservation production system and determine how patterns of water use affect whole crop fiber quality of genotypes differing in genetic potential for fiber properties. 2) Identify sources of traits to improve cotton performance in production systems in the southeastern USA and introgress the associated genes into enhanced germplasm suitable to be made available to cotton breeders for variety development.
Cotton production and processing are an important part of the economy of the southeastern U.S.A., and development of sustainable production systems and improved germplasm will be key to sustaining and enhancing the industry. We intend to conduct research that will result in improved cotton production systems that provide higher yield, improved fiber processing quality, and lessen risk of non-point source pollution to the environment. We will 1) identify management options and search for genetic traits that can be used to overcome factors that inhibit optimum productivity in conservation systems; 2) evaluate the agronomic and environmental value of potential resources (poultry litter and products extracted from litter; summer legume cover crops) available to growers in the southeast; and 3) evaluate genotypes and develop germplasm with enhanced fiber yield for profitable production and improved fiber properties for efficient yarn and textile processing into consumer acceptable products. Methods consist of field, greenhouse, and laboratory investigations. The expected benefits of this research are crop management systems with higher yield, more environment-friendly growing practices, and the development of germplasm with improved fiber properties which will benefit all segments of the cotton industry, including cotton farmers, agricultural supply companies, ginners, and mills.