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New Cotton Production Model Available on the Web

By Jim Core
July 17, 2002

A nearly complete Cotton Production Model (CPM) is now available on an Agricultural Research Service web site and should eventually help growers more efficiently raise this valuable fiber crop.

The model, built on 30 years of research, also draws on the latest scientific knowledge. It is designed to be used with a wide variety of cotton types grown in the United States. In developing the model, researchers collected data at about 20 locations spanning the Cotton Belt.

The CPM is a "second generation" model, incorporating the latest findings on crop growth and development in a software engineering format that is more versatile and user friendly than previous models. The simulations of physiological processes are also improved, including models for plant-water relations and soil-root processes, and should be easily linked with some pest and disease models.

Researchers with ARS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency, believe the CPM has the potential to make useful contributions to cotton producers when completed. If fully developed, it would be a valuable decision-making tool for production inputs including irrigation, fertilization, plant-growth regulators and defoliant application before harvest. As of now, it is an advanced model suitable for researchers.

The improved software engineering design ensures that the model is easy to maintain and update with future scientific advances. The CPM's programming code is flexible and adaptable, according to Gretchen F. Sassenrath-Cole, a plant physiologist at ARS' Application and Production Technology Research Unit in Stoneville, Miss. This adaptability allows the computer code to be incorporated into process-based models of other crops. ARS is making the model codes available to researchers.

The executable code, source code, and supporting documentation are available on ARS' Office of Technology Transfer web site at:

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