Mar 10, 2017

Agronomy & physiology WCRC Agro-physio-global WCRC1
Abstract                                                                         Back to Table of contents

Considerable interest exists for the use of plant growth regulators (PGRs) in cotton production.  Plant growth regulators are organic compounds, other than nutrients, that affect physiological processes of plants when applied in small concentrations.  These compounds represent diverse chemistries and modes of action and provide numerous possibilities for altering crop growth and development.  Their time of use extends from early season when they are applied in-furrow or as seed treatments at planting to late season in preparing the crop for harvest.  Overall benefits from plant growth regulator use in cotton include yield enhancement, improved fiber quality, and greater ease of harvest.  More specific responses include alteration of C partitioning, greater root:shoot ratios, enhanced photosynthesis, altered nutrient uptake, improved water status, and altered crop canopy.  These responses are a reflection of the interaction of heritable characteristics, cultural inputs, and environment.  Because of this complex interaction, crop response to PGRs is not always predictable.  Techniques have been developed to monitor the growth and development of the crop, with specific emphasis on the fruiting characteristics.  One such technique, plant mapping, provides detailed information on fruiting rates and potential, fruit retention, and distribution of fruit set relative to PGR treatment.  Since over 80% of the yield is produced on first position fruiting sites, retention and maturation of these bolls is critical.  Increased boll retention at the early fruiting sites enhances crop maturity, allowing quicker harvest and improved lint quality.  In summary, strategies for using PGRs in cotton production include numerous options for beneficially modifying crop response to improve yield and management of the crop.


A review of the recent literature indicates that plant growth regulator use in cotton remains a viable option for effectively modifying plant growth and development.  Success with growth retardants, yield enhancers, and crop terminating compounds makes managing the crop an easier task.  Suppressing excessive vegetative growth allows for better control of insects and assists with harvest.  Identification of compounds that enhance photosynthetic activity and greater partitioning of carbon to developing fruit remains as one of the primary focuses of research.  However, compounds that increase root activity, ion uptake, and water use efficiency are equally important.  Consistency of PGR performance is complicated by the interaction with heritable characteristics of the crop and environment.

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