Cotton Production Practices in China Emphasizing Management of Helicoverpa Armigera

C. F. Sheng, E. G. King, and L. N. Namken


The People's Republic of China, since the early 1980's, has ranked first among nations in total production of cotton each year and second in total area planted (over 5 million ha annually). Also, China has the highest worldwide consumption of cotton. Projected cotton production for 1991-1995 is 5.5 - 6.0 million ha and 4.5-5.0 million tons of lint cotton annually.

China cotton-growing regions may be divided predominantly into two sections: the Yellow River Valley (50 percent) and the Yangtze River Valley (30 percent). Double-cropping with cotton is a common practice in these regions. In recent years, cotton production increased significantly in a third region, the Northwestern Region (over 15 percent in 1993). Varieties utilized have been derived largely from USA varieties. Cultural practices include sowing, transplanting, interplanting, fertilization, irrigation, mulching, pruning of the plants by hand or with growth regulators, and hand-picking at harvest.

Major arthropod pests of cotton in China are the "bollworm," Helicoverpa armigera H�bner, and aphids in the Yellow River Valley and the pink bollworm, Pectinophora gossypiella Saunders, and spider mites in the Yangtze River Valley. Due to the rural economy reform, the Chinese agroecosystem has become more diverse, and production of cotton, food grain, vegetables, and other crops has greatly increased. This may have contributed to bollworm outbreaks. Moreover, as crop ownership has changed, peasant growers often apply synthetic chemical insecticides to control individual pests on a field-by-field basis, leading to failure in control of bollworm and resulting in immense yield loss.

More recently, the Chinese government has promoted a unified community-wide program for control of the bollworm. A demonstration of integrated control of the bollworm was conducted in Wenshang County in 1993, resulting in satisfactory suppression and economic and ecological benefits. The organization was supervised by the local government. Integrated control techniques were provided by a team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and included cultural practices, moth trapping, use of the toxin from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), and conventional insecticides.

Reprinted from Proceedings of the 1994 Beltwide Cotton Conferences pp. 1143 - 1150
©National Cotton Council, Memphis TN

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Document last modified Sunday, Dec 6 1998