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Early Season Nitrogen Fertilization of Cotton

J. S. McConnell and W. H. Baker


Nitrogen (N) fertilization is a critical component of successful cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) production. Nitrogen deficient cotton typically undergoes chlorosis, has reduced leaf area and utilizes water poorly. These conditions reduce growth, cause fruit shedding and result in substantial yield loss. Pre-plant N fertilization is used to meet early season N requirements. Arkansas guidelines recommend that producers fertilize split-apply large amounts of N fertilizer to increase the N uptake by the crop. The recommended split is about half the total amount applied before planting and the remaining portion applied before first bloom. The first soil application of nitrogen is frequently delayed due to inclement weather until after planting and sometimes after emergence, or lost through denitrification or leaching. These conditions might result in early season N deficiency and possible yield loss. Stand loss of cotton due to disease or drowning and subsequent replanting with soybeans may also eliminate the need for N fertilization.

Reprinted from Proceedings of the 1998 Beltwide Cotton Conferences pp. 659 - 660
©National Cotton Council, Memphis TN

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Document last modified Sunday, Dec 6 1998