Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/9/2001
Publication Date: 6/1/2001
Citation: Funk, P.A., Lewis, B.E., Hughs, S.E. 2001. Preliminary Thermal Defoliation Trials. National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference. p. 323.
Interpretive Summary: For organic production or fields adjacent to sensitive areas chemical use may be undesirable. In an experiment exploring alternatives to chemical defoliation heat was used to remove leaves from cotton plants. Heat (superheated dry steam) as applied in this experiment terminated the plant but was not very effective at causing leaves to detach from the plant. Heat did not change cotton fiber properties compared to untreated cotton. Fiber color improved slightly while seed germination decreased slightly.
Technical Abstract: Cotton defoliation is practiced for a variety of reasons including late season insect control and crop termination. In sensitive areas defoliation by conventional means may not be desirable. This study attempted to adopt a dry steam defoliation device designed for viniculture to cotton. Desiccation was successful, but leaf drop was minimal. No statistically significant difference in trash content or fiber properties was found. Seed germination was reduced 3 percent. HVI color improved slightly. More research is required before any conclusions can be drawn.