Long-term Cotton Based Crop Rotation Experimentation
Jul 31, 2018
Cotton is the main cash crop of temperate regions in Punjab, Pakistan, accounting for 60% of total foreign exchange earnings and providing above 55% of total employment. Cotton-fallow-cotton and cotton-wheat-cotton are traditional rotations of the region. Introduction of maize, sunflower and soybean has necessitated the development of new cotton based crop rotations with higher returns. Seven cotton-based rotations were tested over five years. Data were recorded on yield and yield components, fiber traits and soil nutritional status. Cotton-fallow (T-1) gave the lowest net annual return but the soil fertility improved. Cotton-wheat (T-2) gave the highest annual returns except in 1991-92 and also the highest five-year average. Cotton-sunflower (T-3) gave the highest returns in 1991-92 and was the second highest five year average but after 1991-92, returns and soil fertility declined. Allelic effect on next crop was also observed. Although cotton-maize (T-6) was ranked third on five year average, it was ranked second, second and first position during, 1991-92, 1994-95 and 1995-96, respectively. The five-year average second position of T-3 was due to high price of sunflower and cotton during 1991-92 so this rotation is unsuitable for farmers. Although T6 was third in five-year average, it is replacing T-2, the most common rotation of area.