Submitted to: Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/17/2019
Publication Date: 4/23/2019
Citation: Mauget, S.A., Ulloa, M., Dever, J. 2019. Planting date effects on cotton lint yield and fiber quality in the U.S. Southern High Plains. Agriculture. 9(4):82. https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9040082.
Interpretive Summary: The U.S. Southern High Plains (SHP) is a leading cotton production region, but its high altitude and short growing season can reduce yields and fiber quality. To study the effects of SHP cotton planting dates, lint yield and quality in 11 years of May- and June-planted irrigated variety trials were evaluated. May planting increased yields in 8 of 10 years that comparisons could be made, and improved fiber fineness and maturity in 7 of 11 years. These effects, and analysis of SHP temperature data, show that late-April to early-May planting dates may increase yield and quality. But although this practice may be best for the SHP environment it may also require high-vigor seed and pre-planting irrigation.
Technical Abstract: Cotton planting date effects in the U.S. Southern High Plains (SHP) were evaluated based on 11 years of May- and June-planted irrigated variety trials. Multiple cultivars planted in each year’s trial allowed for the calculation of 153 yield effects and 162 effects in 5 fiber quality parameters. Yield and quality effects were considered in the context of related changes in total growing season degree days (GDDS) and total cool hours (CHRS) during a boll formation period 80 to 110 days after planting. May planting increased GDDS and significantly increased yields in 8 of 10 years that comparisons could be made. Micronaire and fiber elongation were the most sensitive quality parameters to planting date. June planting resulted in increased CHRS every year and a significantly higher incidence of low micronaire in 7 of 11 years. In 7 of 11 years May planting significantly reduced fiber elongation relative to June planting. Analysis of SHP temperature data show that late-April to early-May planting dates may increase yield and micronaire by maximizing GDDS and minimizing CHRS. Although this practice may be optimal to the SHP environment it may also require high-vigor seed and pre-planting irrigation. Adapting genetics to an early planting strategy might include selecting for improved seed vigor and cold germination with acceptable yield and fiber quality traits.