Mechanized Picking of Cotton Cultivated in Narrow Rows in Greece
Jul 31, 2018
The early cotton picker, adjusted to pick at 1 metre spacing, imposed this spacing on the traditional cotton cultivation system. Subsequent experimental results proved the superiority of narrower row spacing in many cases. Accordingly, in the 1980’s, many farm machinery companies in the USA started to convert existing cotton pickers to pick cotton sown in 0.75m rows. However, the superiority of this is expected to become more evident with modern low-input agriculture with smaller crop growth and late canopy closure under the imposed reduced inputs in the near future. This mechanized system started being evaluated for the first time in Greece, in a field experiment (split-split plot experiment with five blocks) carried out in two different locations in Thessaly in 1997. In particular, the growth and development of two important Greek cotton cultivars (i.e. Corina and Zeta-2) was studied for three plant populations (e.g. 10, 20 and 30 plants/m2) and two sowing row-spacings, the modern 0.75 m versus the classical row spacing of 1.0 m. It was found that the crop cultivated in narrow rows was generally earlier than that cultivated in conventional rows. The plants growing in narrow rows were smaller and more compact. They attained a greater leaf area index and were characterized by more flowers and bolls, giving a clear (though not statistically significant) evidence of an increased final yield. The superiority of dense rows was more apparent in the more compact cultivar “Corina”. No significant difference was found for cotton-quality characteristics among the various treatments. This is an ongoing investigation.