Home » Volume 20 / 2016 » Issue 4 »
Influence of Row Spacing, Herbicide Technology, and Tillage on Fiber Quality and Economic Returns
Leah M. Duzy, Kipling S. Balkcom, and Andrew J. Price
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Agricultural producers are faced with a range of conditions that influence their profitability, from weather variability to weed, insect, and disease pressure. Adoption of new production methods to address these conditions can produce higher or lower yields, as well as differing cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) fiber quality. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of row spacing, herbicide technology, and tillage on fiber quality attributes, quality price difference, ginning percentage, and net returns above variable treatment costs (NR) using data from a field experiment conducted in Alabama from 2004 to 2006. Treatments included nontransgenic, glyphosate-tolerant, and glufosinate-tolerant cotton varieties; conservation tillage and conventional tillage; and standard row (102-cm) and narrow row (38-cm) spacing. Ordered multinomial mixed logit models were used to evaluate fiber quality attributes, quality price difference, and ginning percentage, and a linear mixed model was use to evaluate NR. Fiber quality attributes were most commonly impacted by variety and tillage. Across all fiber quality attributes, nontransgenic and glufosinate-tolerant varieties had a higher probability of producing premium cotton than the glyphosate-tolerant variety due to premiums from micronaire, strength, and uniformity values. Conservation tillage systems had a higher probability of higher values for color grade, staple, and uniformity. Glyphosate-tolerant cotton and cotton grown in a conventional tillage system were more likely to have higher ginning percentages. Spacing and variety were influential in determining NR. These results indicate the importance of considering, not only seed cotton yield, but also fiber quality and ginning percentage when making production decisions.