Reduced Input Systems for Cotton Production in North Carolina

K.L. Edmisten, A.C. York, J.S. Bacheler, and D.S. Guthrie


A series of three replicated tests were conducted during the 1990-1992 growing season to quantify the effect of management intensity on cotton growth, yield and quality. Treatments varied from no inputs through a very high input system and include organic, LISA and Extension IPM systems. Extensive data were collected including plant stands, thrips levels, weed density, fruiting habits, yield and quality . Costs for each of the treatments were determined and the economic values established.

On the basis of our three year project, it would appear that both of the LISA treatments (close to what would now be labeled sustainable cotton production) and the Extension treatments were very close in dollar value to the high input or "High-input" option. Because of the far lower inputs used with the LISA than the High-input treatment, these competitive alternatives would be far more environmentally benign. Although the results of this three year, small plot-replicated study would not be enough to quickly precipitate a change in cotton production recommendations, it does suggest a closer look at lower input cotton production systems on larger plots may be in order. On the other hand, the organic options appeared to have too much of a yield handicap due to weed pressure and boll damage from caterpillars to be considered a reasonable option with current cotton prices.

Reprinted from Proceedings of the 1994 Beltwide Cotton Conferences pg. 1707
©National Cotton Council, Memphis TN

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Document last modified Sunday, Dec 6 1998