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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CONSERVATION SYSTEMS RESEARCH FOR IMPROVING ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY AND PRODUCER PROFITABILITY

Location: National Soil Dynamics Laboratory

Title: Row Spacing, Tillage System, and Herbicide Technology Affects Cotton Plant Growth and Yield

Authors
item Balkcom, Kipling
item Price, Andrew
item Van Santen, Edzard -
item Delaney, Dennis -
item Boykin, Deborah
item Arriaga, Francisco
item Bergtold, Jason -
item Kornecki, Ted
item Donoghue, Ann

Submitted to: Field Crops Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 10, 2010
Publication Date: April 29, 2010
Citation: Balkcom, K.S., Price, A.J., Van Santen, E., Delaney, D.P., Boykin, D.L., Arriaga, F.J., Bergtold, J.S., Kornecki, T.S., Raper, R.L. 2010. Row Spacing, Tillage System, and Herbicide Technology Affects Cotton Plant Growth and Yield. Field Crops Research. 117:219-225.

Interpretive Summary: Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) producers are faced with numerous production choices including cotton varieties, herbicide technology, tillage systems, and row spacing. Scientists with USDA-ARS located at the National Soil Dynamics Laboratory in Auburn, AL in cooperation with Auburn Univ. initiated a study to compare cotton production across conventional, glyphosate tolerant, and glufosinate tolerant varieties in both conventional and conservation tillage systems for standard row (102 cm) and narrow row (38 cm) cotton planting patterns at the Field Crops Unit, E.V. Smith Research Center, near Shorter, AL in long term tillage plots. Data collection included plant biomass and height at 1st square, mid-bloom, and lint yields. In general, plant biomass for 38 cm cotton was greater compared to 102 cm cotton, regardless of growth stage. Since plant heights from 38 cm cotton were shorter than 102 cm cotton, the difference in biomass can be attributed to more plants/area. Cotton planted in 38 cm rows yielded equivalent to 102 cm cotton during two of the three experimental years and was superior to 102 cm cotton the remaining year, which corresponded to the best growing season observed during the experimental period. These results indicate that 38 cm cotton production can produce yields that are at least equivalent to standard 102 cm cotton, despite differences in plant development. The productivity of a narrow row cotton production system may be attractive to some growers, but the additional investment in equipment and seed may not be profitable on a large scale based on equivalent or marginal lint yield increases.

Technical Abstract: Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) producers are faced with numerous production choices including cotton varieties, herbicide technology, tillage systems, and row spacing. A study was conducted to compare cotton production across conventional, glyphosate tolerant, and glufosinate tolerant varieties in both conventional and conservation tillage systems for standard row (102 cm) and narrow row (38 cm) cotton planting patterns. The experiment was conducted during the 2004-2006 growing seasons at the Field Crops Unit, E.V. Smith Research Center, near Shorter, AL in long term tillage plots. Data collection included plant biomass and height at 1st square, mid-bloom, and lint yields. Plant biomass measured at 1st square and mid-bloom was affected by growing season with 38 cm cotton plant biomass averaging 34% greater in 2004 and 2005, however, the effect of tillage system was contradictory within the growing season. Mid-bloom plant biomass also varied across growing seasons with 21% more plant biomass recorded in 38 cm rows averaged across all three growing seasons. Plant heights were shorter for 38 cm cotton compared to 102 cm cotton, regardless of growth stage or tillage system. No differences in cotton development were observed across varieties. Cotton planted in 38 cm rows yielded equivalent to 102 cm cotton during two of the three experimental years and was superior to 102 cm cotton the remaining year, which corresponded to the best growing season observed during the experimental period. These results indicate that 38 cm cotton production can produce yields that are at least equivalent to standard 102 cm cotton, despite differences in plant development. The productivity of a narrow row cotton production system may be attractive to some growers, but the additional investment in equipment and seed may not be profitable on a large scale based on equivalent or marginal lint yield increases.

Last Modified: 4/24/2014
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