Submitted to: Crop Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 6, 2009
Publication Date: February 16, 2010
Citation: Pettigrew, W.T. 2010. Effects of Foliar Fertilizer and Mepiquat Penteborate on Early Planted Cotton Growth and Lint Production. Crop Management. doi:10.1094/CM-2010-0215-01-RS. Interpretive Summary: As input resources become more expensive, cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) producers need unbiased evaluations to ensure that inputs they utilize with their cotton producing systems, such as the multiple growth regulators and foliar fertilizers currently being marketed for cotton, can deliver the profit margins they desire. This research evaluated how the use of foliar fertilizers combined with or without the growth regulator, mepiquat pentaborate, during early reproductive growth affected cotton growth and development, lint yield production, and fiber quality when used in conjunction with the higher yield potential of the early planting cotton production system. Although mepiquat pentaborate reduced plant height 13% and increased lint yield 9% during one of the two years, no consistent yield benefits were found from applying either mepiquat pentaborate or foliar fertilization during early reproductive growth for early planted cotton. Furthermore, there did not seem to be any synergy gained from pairing the growth promoting qualities of the foliar fertilization with the growth altering (retarding) properties of the mepiquat pentaborte. The results from this research will be used by cotton researchers, extension specialists, consultants and producers as an unbiased source of information to aid in making decisions about input usage.
Technical Abstract: Multiple growth regulators and foliar fertilizers are currently marketed for use in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) with varying effectiveness in promoting yield improvement. This research addressed the effectiveness of these products in a cotton early planting production system with its higher yield potential. Mepiquat pentaborate (115 g ha-1) and a mixed liquid fertilizer solution (3.36 kg N ha-1, 2.79 kg K ha-1, 0.17 kg B ha-1) were foliar applied to cotton during an early stage of reproductive growth in both 2005 and 2006 at Stoneville, MS. Leaf area index, canopy light interception, chlorophyll concentrations, and flowering rates were all quantified during the growing season. Lint yield, yield components, and fiber quality were assessed at the end of each season. No interactions were detected between mepiquat pentaborate or foliar fertilizer for any of the traits. Other than a slightly larger boll mass due to more seeds per boll, the foliar fertilizer did not impact any of the parameters measured. Mepiquat pentaborate reduced plant height 13% and canopy light interception 9%, but increased leaf chlorophyll concentration by10%. Lint yield was increased 9% by mepiquat pentaborate in 2005 because 9% more bolls were produced, but not in 2006. It appears soil applied fertilizer is sufficient for the nutritional needs of cotton on most Mississippi Delta soils. The inconsistent yield response to mepiquat pentaborate indicates that a blanket use recommendation as a yield enhancement input in cotton is not warranted.