2005 Annual Report
1.What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it (summarize project aims and objectives)? How serious is the problem? What does it matter?
Cotton farming practices need to be improved because of increased competition from synthetic fibers and changes in textile manufacture. Currently available cotton cultivars and production systems do not provide sufficiently high fiber yields for consistent economically viable production nor do they possess the fiber properties needed by yarn and textile manufacturers to fully exploit new processing technology. In the southeastern USA, most of the cotton is produced on highly weathered soils that have low water-holding capacity and low fertility. There is a critical need for the development of systems that increase the productivity of these soils in an environment-friendly manner. Practices such as conservation tillage and cover crops are potential tools to achieve this. In addition, poultry production is a large industry in the region, and litter from these facilities is a potential source of organic matter and nutrients for these soils. Improved technologies and strategies are needed for optimizing litter application in cotton production systems while avoiding excess nutrient losses to surrounding environments.
To address these problems, we are conducting research to determine factors that limit cotton yield and fiber quality in conservation systems and developing and evaluating germplasm for improved cropping practices for those systems. A portion of this research is under National Program 305 and addresses the goals of the Integrated Production Systems component of the Program. Specifically, our research contributes to the Sustainable Crop Systems goal of increasing crop productivity and quality in production systems in a sustainable manner. We are also conducting plant breeding research under National Program 301 and addressing the goals of the Genome Characterization and Genetic Improvement component of the Program. We are combining traditional, field-oriented plant breeding methods with a laboratory-based biotechnology approach focused on characterizing germplasm at the molecular level and to genetically map genes of interest in the cotton genome.
Low profitability threatens the entire cotton industry. Increased yields are needed by growers to offset rising production costs and low prices. Fiber properties such as strength and fiber length must be improved to fully exploit new, more efficient yarn and textile manufacturing technologies and to meet the quality requirements for export. Improved cropping systems technology is needed to improve the yield, quality, and profitability of the crop. Higher yield and more environment-friendly growing practices will benefit all segments of the cotton industry and the consumer.
2.List the milestones (indicators of progress) from your Project Plan.
Year 1 (FY2005)
1. Conduct greenhouse studies to determine phosphorous availability from soil-amended chicken litter and products derived from chicken litter.
2. Initiate field experiments to assess the feasibility of using Crotolaria juncea as summer cover crops in rotations with cotton.
3. Initiate field experiments to determine how patterns of soil water use by cotton grown with conservation tillage influence within-canopy yield and fiber properties.
4. Contribute to the National Cotton Variety Test Program by evaluating cultivars in the Eastern Regional High Quality Cotton Variety Trial at Florence.
Year 2 (FY2006)
1. Summarize greenhouse studies on phosphorus availability.
2. Using information gained in the greenhouse trials, initiate field studies on phosphorous availability, phosphorous runoff potential, and soil chemical properties from soil-amended chicken litter and products derived from chicken litter in cotton production with conservation tillage.
3. Continue field evaluations of summer legume.
4. Continue field evaluations of cotton water use and within-canopy yield and fiber quality distribution.
5. Conduct Eastern Regional High Quality Cotton Variety Trial.
Year 3 (FY2007)
1. Conduct second year of phosphorous field experiments.
2. Finish field studies on the potential of using a summer legume as a nitrogen source for cotton.
3. Finish field evaluation of cotton water use relationships with within-canopy yield and fiber quality distribution.
4. Conduct Eastern Regional High Quality Cotton Variety Trial.
Year 4 (FY2008)
1. Conduct third year of phosphorous field experiments.
2. Manuscript prepared on summer legume research.
3. Manuscript prepared on how soil water availability affects cotton yield and quality distribution.
4. Conduct Eastern Regional High Quality Cotton Variety Trial.
Year 5 (FY2009)
1. Provide an assessment on crop and soil responses assessing the fertilizer value of products derived from poultry litter and the environmental fate of the phosphorus in these materials when applied to cotton.
2. Conduct Eastern Regional High Quality Cotton Variety Trial.
4a.What was the single most significant accomplishment this past year?
Management and soils affect canopy position specific fiber properties: Because cotton flowers over a long period of time (approximately 4 weeks), cotton fiber quality of bolls on the same plant vary due to differences in weather patterns during the flowering and boll development period. This research demonstrated that both tillage management and soil type influences the distribution of fiber properties within the plant canopy. Improving cotton quality and reducing within crop fiber property variability are important for improving productivity of domestic mills and increasing demand of US cotton in export markets. A three-year field study was conducted in which cotton bolls that developed early, in the middle, and late in the season were collected from plants grown with conservation or conventional tillage on two soil types. It was found that fiber length and fiber fineness at specific positions within the canopy of cotton grown with conservation tillage were less affected by short periods of dry weather than was cotton grown with conventional tillage. Also, the amount of variability within the cotton canopy for these fiber properties differed among soil types, with lower variability on a more productive soil. This research provides new information that scientists and farm advisors will use in designing production systems that provide improved cotton quality.
4b.List other significant accomplishments, if any.
4c.List any significant activities that support special target populations.
Field Evaluation of Pee Dee Cotton Germplasm and Varieties for Agronomic Performance and Fiber Quality in Multi-location Field Trials:
This report serves to document research conducted under a non-funded cooperative agreement (6657-21000-005-02N) between ARS and Delta and Pine Land Company. This is the second year of a project with the objective to evaluate released Pee Dee germplasm and varieties and remaining Pee Dee breeding lines for agronomic performance and fiber quality in multi-location field trials. Eighty-two released germplasm lines and varieties are currently being evaluated through this project in replicated field trials as part of a larger study to evaluate the stability of Pee Dee line performance across several growing environments in the southeast US. Additionally, thirty advanced, non-released breeding lines are currently being evaluated through this project in replicated field trials for possible germplasm release. One outcome of this project will help to identify germplasm lines within the Pee Dee program that display stability for agronomic performance and fiber quality across southeast US growing environments. An additional outcome of this project will lead to the development and release of improved germplasm lines with enhanced agronomic performance and fiber quality characteristics.
Genetic Diversity of Pee Dee Germplasm:
This report serves to document research conducted under a reimbursable cooperative agreement (6657-21000-005-03R) between ARS and Cotton Incorporated. The objective of this project is to evaluate the level of DNA-based genetic diversity present in the Pee Dee germplasm. Eighty-two germplasm lines and varieties officially released over the life of the Pee Dee cotton genetics program are being used to represent the Pee Dee germplasm resource. An assessment of DNA-based genetic diversity is being made by comparing the molecular marker profiles of each of the 82 lines. Genetic similarity will be calculated among lines based on marker banding patterns. A dendogram will also be constructed to visually represent the diversity present among the 82 lines. Results from this study will provide enhanced knowledge of the DNA-based genetic diversity present within the Pee Dee germplasm resource. Knowledge of genetic diversity within the Pee Dee germplasm will allow cotton breeders to better select specific Pee Dee lines for use in crosses designed for specific breeding objectives.
Cotton Cropping Practices in S.E. USA Coastal Plain Farming Systems:
This report serves to document research conducted under a specific cooperative agreement (6657-21000-005-01S) between ARS and Clemson University. The objective of the project is to evaluate new cotton cropping practices for productivity, product quality, and environmental compatibility and compare them to practices traditionally used by growers. A split-field study that was established in 1998 is being used. In May 2004, cotton was planted on the field using production practices typically used in 1995 (non-transgenic cultivar, conventional tillage, broadcast application of nutrients) and new production practices and technologies (a Bt/RR cultivar, conservation tillage, site-specific application of phosphorus based on soil sampling). In 2005, one cultivar was planted across the entire field to assess the impact of soil changes with long-term conservation tillage on cotton productivity. Spatial variability of soil phosphorus levels was determined by grid sampling both sides of the field. Three, 1/8 acre runoff plots were established on each side of the field in 2004 to determine runoff volume and sediment and nutrient content of runoff. Spatial variability for crop yield and quality will be evaluated throughout both sides of the field using a yield monitor and grid sampling. The outcome of this project will be to provide field-scale results to growers on how the combination of new technologies affect farmer profits, soil productivity, and the potential for contamination by sediments and nutrients of the surrounding ecosystems.
5.Describe the major accomplishments over the life of the project, including their predicted or actual impact.
This project has just finished the first year of the NP 305 cycle, so results from these field studies are still preliminary. The breeding program has been reestablished and a research on cotton genetics is just being initiated.
6.What science and/or technologies have been transferred and to whom? When is the science and/or technology likely to become available to the end-user (industry, farmer, other scientists)? What are the constraints, if known, to the adoption and durability of the technology products?
ARS Florence hosted it's annual Customer/Partner Dialogue Workshop on November 18, 2004, where research results on conservation tillage production and the reestablishment of the cotton genetics program were discussed with producers, industry representatives, action agency representatives, and scientists.
Drs. Bauer and Campbell presented research results to growers and industry representatives at Clemson University's Cotton Field Day in September 2004. Dr. Bauer discussed seasonal patterns in soil water contents under conservation tillage. Dr. Campbell discussed the activities of the USDA-ARS cotton genetics program located in Florence, South Carolina.
7.List your most important publications in the popular press and presentations to organizations and articles written about your work. (NOTE: List your peer reviewed publications below).
Dr. Campbell presented "Breeding for higher lint yields and enhanced fiber quality in the southeast US" at the 2005 South Carolina Agricultural Expo., Columbia, South Carolina.
Campbell, B.T., Jones, M.A. 2005. Interpreting genotype x environmental interactions for yield and fiber quality in cotton performance trials conducted in south carolina. Proceedings of the National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference, January 4-7, 2005, New Orleans, LA. p. 968-979.
Bauer, P.J., Frederick, J.R. 2005. Tillage effects on within-canopy cotton fiber properties on two soil types. Crop Science. 45:698-703.
Bauer, P.J., Fortnum, B.A., Frederick, J.R. 2004. Residue management influence on aldicarb effectiveness in cotton [abstract]. Agronomy Abstracts. 2004 CDROM.
Campbell, B.T., Jones, M.A. 2004. Assessing the impact of genotype x environment interactions for yield and fiber quality in cotton performance trials [abstract]. Agronomy Abstracts. 2004 CDROM.
Bauer, P.J., Busscher, W.J., Sadler, E.J. 2005. Season-long soil water distribution in cotton grain with conservation tillage [abstract]. Proceedings of the Southern Conservation Tillage Systems Conference, June 27-29, 2005, Florence, SC. p. 216.
Bauer, P.J., Frederick, J., Fortnum, B. 2005. Tillage and rotation effects on cotton yield and quality on two soils [abstract]. Proceedings of National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference, January 4-7, 2005, New Orleans, Louisiana. p. 2516.
Curtis, C., Bauer, P.J., Davis, T. 2005. Quality and cost adjusted economic impacts of alternate tillge and production practices in south carolina cotton [abstract]. Proceedings of the Southern Conservation Tillage Systems Conference, June 27-29, 2005, Florence, South Carolina. p. 226.