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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Florence, South Carolina » Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #385618

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

Location: Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research

Title: Selection of cover crop species affects subsequent cotton boll development, position, and lint yield

item Billman, Eric
item Campbell, Benjamin - Todd

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/15/2021
Publication Date: 11/15/2021
Citation: Billman, E.D., Campbell, B.T. 2021. Selection of cover crop species affects subsequent cotton boll development, position, and lint yield. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Modern cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) production systems are seeking to improve their sustainability planting cover crops between harvest and planting of annual cotton. This allows for reductions in soil erosion, structure, and contributes to improved soil organic matter while also providing potential for double cropping. However, little work has been done to identify the effects that different cover crops have on subsequent cotton production, growth, and development. In particular, we sought to determine how different cover crops grown before cotton would affect boll position, number, branching, and lint yield. The study design was a complete block with 5 replications. In June 2020 three adjacent cover treatments, wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), carinata (Brassica carinata A. Braun), and a fallow control were harvested and terminated via glyphosate herbicide and mowing. One week later, cotton was sown into the stubble and alleys were cut to form plots that were 15 meters (m) × 15 m. Cotton was then maintained with normal pesticide and fertility regimens until harvest in November 2020. Two days prior to harvest, plants were sampled from 1 square meter of row in each plot outside of the harvested rows to conduct plant mapping at the harvest maturity stage. The inner four rows of each plot were then harvested to collect lint yields. Plant mapping data included plant height, monopodial and sympodial branch bolls, total boll number, boll distribution, and number of secondary and tertiary bolls. The results consistently indicated that cotton grown following carinata had the greatest lint yields and was taller than wheat or fallow. This was attributed to the greater number of total bolls, more monopodial and sympodial branching, and more secondary and tertiary bolls than both the wheat and fallow treatments. We conclude that carinata can serve as an appropriate cover crop in cotton rotations, provided establishment is timely.