Cotton Fruiting Habits and Agronomic Descriptions of Short-Season Production Systems

James M. (Jim) Brown


Cotton is grown in the U.S. and most commercial production areas of the world as an annual, but its vegetative and reproductive habits are controlled by a physiological system that is programmed for maximum seed production and survival over a period of years instead of just one growing season.

The cotton plant originated in the tropics where there were six months of rain and six months of essentially no rain. As Dr. Brad Waddle (retired of the University of Arkansas) stated some years ago at this Conference, "over the years the cotton plant developed traits that enabled it to be a survivor." Today, in an annual 'sheltered' culture, these survival traits often cause production problems.

The cotton plant is more versatile in its adaptation to adverse conditions than most commercial crop plants. Its vegetative and fruiting balance will adjust to such pressures as moisture stress, and low sunlight such that it still has the potential for producing a high yield; that is, if there are favorable conditions and sufficient growing season left. That "if" is the big problem. The odds are stacked against it.

Reprinted from Proceedings of the 1987 Beltwide Cotton Production Conference pp. 72 - 73
©National Cotton Council, Memphis TN

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Document last modified Sunday, Dec 6 1998