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LOGO: Journal of Cotton Science


Planting Cotton Cultivar Mixtures to Enhance Fiber Quality

Authors: J. C. Faircloth, K. Edmisten, R. Wells, and A. Stewart
Pages: 51-56
Agronomy and Soils

Price discounts associated with inferior cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) fiber quality might be avoided through alternative planting strategies involving mixing cultivars of various yield and quality characteristics. A three-year field study was conducted to assess the potential of improving lint quality characteristics without sacrificing yield by using two alternative planting methods. The two alternative methods used were mixing equal volume of seed of two cultivars, Stoneville (ST) 474 mixed with Deltapine (DP) 5409 and Paymaster (PM) 1218BR mixed with either Sure-Grow (SG) 125BR or DP 436RR prior to planting, or planting seed of two cultivars in alternating rows and harvesting as a blend of lint from two cultivars. These methods were compared with monoculture plantings of conventional and transgenic cultivars used in the alternative strategies. Both alternative planting strategies produced yields similar (1195 kg ha-1) to the higher yielding cultivar ST474 (1245 kg ha-1) and significantly higher than the lower yielding DP 5409 (1133 kg ha-1). Lint yields were not different among treatments utilizing either PM 1218BR and SG 125BR (1280 to 1400 kg ha-1) or PM 1218BR and DP 436RR (1603 to 1687 kg ha-1). Micronaire results were inconclusive. Fiber length from mixed seed and alternating row treatments typically were between the monoculture treatments. When DP 436RR was mixed with PM 1218BR, fiber length was increased from 2.69 to 2.79 cm and micronaire was reduced from 4.60 to 4.21. When SG 125BR was mixed with PM 1218BR, length was unchanged but micronaire reduced from 4.13 to 3.71. Fiber strength was not enhanced as a result of cultivar mixing or alternate row planting. In most cases, the two alternative strategies were similar to each other in yield and fiber properties. This research demonstrated that in some cases using alternative planting strategies improved fiber quality and yield, but gains were of minimal economic or biological importance.