Crop Management for Optimum Fiber
Quality and Yield
(PDF file version, 21 KB)
by Jeffrey C. Silvertooth,
Extension Agronomist - Cotton
Yield is the most important factor to consider in developing a cotton production plan. However, in an effort to realize maximum profits from a cotton production system it is also important to recognize the significance of fiber quality. In Arizona, we have faced several challenges in recent years associated with optimum fiber quality requirements from a regional, statewide, and field to field basis. For example, many farms have experienced difficulties with high micronaire (mike) values in the past few years that sometimes have resulted in discounts on fiber value. Crop management for both optimum yield and fiber quality is a realistic and important approach to take for a profitable cotton production system.
Fiber properties such as length, strength, micronaire, and grade are all important to consider in terms of crop management. There are many crop management factors that have been associated with fiber quality. Some of these factors include:
Probably the most important aspect determining the potential for fiber quality of a cotton crop is variety. In several studies addressing cotton fiber properties (Meredith 1986 and 1990) genetics has been shown to have a very strong influence on fiber strength and length, accounting for over 80% of the variability associated with these two properties, respectively. An example that is often considered in this context is the San Joaquin Valley of California and the Acala varieties that are grown there. Accordingly, the length and strength properties commonly associated with the Acala fibers are derived primarily from the varieties (genetics) grown not the environment per se. Variety can also have a strong influence on grade. For example, hairy leaf varieties are commonly associated with higher trash contents.
One approach to addressing crop management in relation to fiber quality, is to consider the primary fiber properties and the management factors that can have a strong impact on them.
Each of these management factors can be addressed independently. But remember, each of these factors can affect, independently and collectively, the yield and quality of a cotton crop, and therefore, overall crop value and profitability.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, James A. Christenson, Director Cooperative Extension, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, The University of Arizona.
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Information provided by Jeffrey C. Silvertooth, firstname.lastname@example.org
Extension Agronomist - Cotton, College of Agriculture, The University of Arizona.
Material written February 2001.
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