Soil Fallowing and Precision Row Planting to Reduce Phytoparasitic Nematode Populations

R.G. Smith, J.A. Veech, J.L. Starr, and J.R. Gannaway


The Texas High Plains typically produces 18-20% of the U.S. and 2-4% of the world's cotton lint annually. Of the 3 million cotton producing acres, half are infested with the root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne incognita (1). The root-knot nematode attacks cotton roots and alters the host morphologically and physiologically, oftentimes making the plant more susceptible to fungal diseases. On average, root-knot nematodes are responsible for lowering lint quality and decreasing lint yield by 25% (1). Unfortunately, most of the infested cotton acreage is also dependent upon rainfall for adequate moisture. Many producers use various skip-row planting patterns to conserve this limited water supply. Our objective is to develop an optimum plant/fallow system which will allow cotton producers to help conserve soil moisture and reduce nematode populations with no increase in production costs.

Reprinted from 1990 Proceedings: Beltwide Cotton Production Research Conferences pp. 36 - 37
©National Cotton Council, Memphis TN

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Document last modified Sunday, Dec 6 1998