Submitted to: Journal of Cotton Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/27/2009
Publication Date: 7/15/2009
Citation: Reddy, K.N., Burke, I.C., Boykin Jr, J.C., Williford, J.R. 2009. Narrow-Row Cotton Production Under Irrigated and Nonirrigated Environment: Plant Population and Lint Yield. Journal of Cotton Science 13:48-55.
Interpretive Summary: Research on narrow (15-inch) row cotton production as an alternative to wide (40-inch) row cotton production in the lower Mississippi River delta region is limited. Scientists from Southern Weed Science Research Unit, Cotton Ginning Research Unit, and Application and Production Technology Research Unit, Stoneville, Mississippi have conducted field studies to assess cotton canopy closure, lint yield, and picker efficiency in 15-inch and 10-inch paired rows as compared to wide (40-inch) rows under irrigated and nonirrigated environment. Cotton canopy closed 2 to 4 weeks earlier in 15-inch and 10-inch paired rows compared to 40-inch rows. Lint yields were similar among the three row patterns, regardless of irrigation. Overall, lint yields were higher under irrigated than nonirrigated environment. Picker harvest efficiency was 5% lower in 15-inch row (88%) compared to 40-inch row (93%) cotton. These results indicate that cotton grown in narrow rows could reduce seed and herbicide costs and produce lint yields equal to cotton in 40-inch rows.
Technical Abstract: The commercialization of a spindle-type harvester to pick cotton planted in 38-cm rows and second-generation of glyphosate-resistant cotton cultivars that allow glyphosate applications beyond the 4-leaf stage have sparked interest in 38-cm row cotton production. However, information on 38-cm row cotton production in the lower Mississippi River valley alluvial flood plain is limited. Field studies were conducted during 2006-2007 to assess cotton canopy closure, lint yield, and picker efficiency in 38-cm and 25-cm paired rows each with five plant populations compared to conventional 102-cm rows with and without irrigation. In nonirrigated cotton, canopy closed 4 and 2 wk earlier in 38-cm and 25-cm paired rows, respectively, compared to 102-cm rows. Plant population at harvest ranged from 85,000 to 172,000 plants ha-1 in 38-cm rows and 99,000 to 217,000 plants ha-1 in 25-cm paired rows as compared to about 126,000 plants ha-1 in 102-cm rows. Under nonirrigated production, there were no differences in lint percentage and lint yield among the three row patterns. Lint yields ranged from 839 to 1043 kg ha-1 in 38-cm and 962 to 1077 kg ha-1 in 25-cm paired rows as compared to 990 kg ha-1 in 102-cm rows. Overall, cotton planted in narrow-rows had more open bolls than 102-cm rows. In irrigated cotton, canopy closure was similar to nonirrigated cotton. Plant populations between irrigated and nonirrigated environment differed by ±23,000 plants ha-1. Lint percentage was similar between 25-cm paired and 102-cm row, but higher than 38-cm row cotton. Under irrigated production, there were no differences in lint yield among the three row patterns. Lint yields ranged from 1264 to 1491 kg ha-1 in 38-cm and 1447 to 1519 kg ha-1 in 25-cm paired rows as compared to 1413 kg ha-1 in 102-cm rows. Picker harvest efficiency was 5% lower in 38-cm row (88%) compared to 102-cm row (93%) cotton. Results of this study indicate that cotton in 38-cm rows with a 33 to 41% lower plant population can close canopy early and produce lint yields equal to cotton in 102-cm rows, regardless of irrigation.