Tillage, Cover Crop and N Effects on Cotton Grown in 19 cm Row Widths
Sep 12, 2018
In areas of the USA where cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) is traditionally harvested with a spindle picker, there is widespread interest in producing cotton in narrow rows and harvesting with a stripper harvester. Optimum management practices with this system are not well-defined. This study was conducted to determine the effects of residue management and nitrogen fertilization on cotton grown in 19-cm-row widths. Similar experiments were conducted in Florence, SC and Auburn, AL, USA, over two growing seasons. Treatments at both locations were tillage system (conventional vs. conservation), winter cover crops (cereal, legume, or none), and N fertilizer rates (0, 45, 90, 135 kg N/ha). Tillage system had only a small effect on yield and fiber properties. The availability of N (either through fertilizer or cover crop) had the greatest impact on the cotton crop. At both locations, optimum N rate for cotton following either no cover crop or following the winter cereal was between 45 and 90 kg/ha. Following the legumes, N rate had a small effect on yield. Overall, there was an average of 2 to 3 bolls per plant. Short fiber length at Florence in 1997 (2.57 cm) and low micronaire at Auburn both years (3.0 micronaire units) suggest that environment during boll development may play a more important role in determining fiber properties in narrow-row systems than in wide-row systems.