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Cotton Response to Simulated Hail Damage and Stand Loss in Central Texas
Joshua McGinty, Gaylon Morgan, and Dale Mott
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Hail damage poses a significant threat to many cotton-producing regions in the U.S. Stand reductions, or loss of leaves, stem, and fruit can occur from these events, and growers must make critical management decisions on whether to keep or replant a damaged crop. To address these questions, field trials were conducted near College Station, TX in 2012 to 2014 to investigate the impact of stand loss and node removal on yield under both dryland and irrigated conditions. To simulate stand losses, stands of three different varieties seeded at 111,197 seed ha-1 were thinned by up to 84%. The critical plant population where yield reductions occurred was inconsistent under irrigated conditions, depending upon the year. Consistent yield losses were experienced only when 84% stand reduction occurred under dryland conditions. To investigate the impact of node removal, field trials were conducted where the upper portions of cotton plants were clipped at 2-, 4-, 8-, 12-, 16-, and 20-node growth stages. Significant yield losses were experienced only when clipping occurred early in the season, between the 2- and 8-node growth stages.