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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Florence, South Carolina » Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research » Research » Research Project #434428

Research Project: Effective Cotton Genetics and Management Practices for Improved Cotton Quality and Production

Location: Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research

Project Number: 6082-21000-008-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Mar 12, 2018
End Date: Mar 11, 2023

Objective:
Objective 1. Determine the ability of cotton germplasm to withstand soil water deficits, identify and characterize drought tolerance genes, and develop innovative management practices for optimizing use of the improved genotypes in production systems. Sub-objective 1A. Identify genotypes with fiber length stability when subject to water deficit stress during fiber elongation. Sub-objective 1B. Identify cotton genotypes that withstand soil water deficits. Sub-objective 1C. Evaluate variable rate irrigation using crop feedback for site-specific irrigation management of cotton in the Southeastern U.S. Coastal Plain. Objective 2. Develop and evaluate new cotton germplasm with increased genetic diversity, improved fiber quality, and lint yield stability traits.

Approach:
New technologies and new genetic resources are needed to help the nation’s cotton producers face increasing economic and environmental challenges. The proposed research will contribute to the industry’s ability to meet the nation’s fiber needs and become more competitive in world markets. Since water deficit stress is a serious limitation to cotton production, much of this research will be aimed at finding solutions to lessen the impact of this environmental stress. The research has two objectives: (1) determine the ability of cotton germplasm to withstand soil water deficits, identify and characterize genetic variation for drought tolerance, and develop innovative management practices; and (2) develop new cotton genetic resources with increased genetic diversity, improved fiber quality, and lint yield stability. In this research, we will conduct genetic studies on the effect of water deficit stress on fiber length and yield, determine how best to use proximal sensing data collected from high throughput phenotyping platforms, design innovative double crop cotton production systems, and develop new cotton genetic resources. Research methods include field experiments and statistical analyses using modern analytical equipment and innovative analytics. Research products include new knowledge of genetic variation for fiber length stability under water deficit stress, protocols for using proximal sensing data collected from high throughput phenotyping platforms as a water deficit stress breeding selection tool, new water efficient cotton cropping systems, and high quality cotton germplasm containing exotic introgression. All segments of the cotton industry and southern rural economies will benefit from the findings of this research.