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LOGO: Journal of Cotton Science


Effects of a Short-term Corn Rotation on Cotton Dry Matter Partitioning, Lint Yield, and Fiber Quality Production

Authors: W.T. Pettigrew, W.R. Meredith Jr., H.A. Bruns, and S. R. Stetina
Pages: 244-251
Agronomy and Soils

Although cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) has traditionally been grown under a continuous monoculture production system in the Mississippi Delta, some cotton producers have begun rotating their land with corn (Zea mays L.) because of economic and agronomic factors. Because of the lack of knowledge regarding corn and cotton rotation systems in this region, the objectives of this research were to determine the effect on the growth and development, lint yield, yield components, and fiber quality of cotton grown following 1 or 2 yr of corn. The four rotation production systems were 1) continuous cotton, 2) continuous corn, 3) corn-cotton-corn-cotton, 4) cotton-corn-corn-cotton. The study was conducted during the 2000 through 2003 growing seasons at Stoneville, MS, using four cotton cultivars (PayMaster 1218BR, Phytogen PSC 952, Stoneville 4691B, and SureGrow 747). Cotton was grown in the final year (2003) for all the rotation systems that had cotton as a component. Cotton was 10% taller when grown after 1 yr of corn and 13% taller after 2 yr of corn. Specific leaf weights (SLW) were 7% to 8% lower for cotton grown following corn than for continuously grown cotton. Cotton grown following 2 yr of corn yielded 13% more lint than the continuously grown cotton primarily because of the production of 13% more bolls per unit ground area. None of the other cotton yield components were different among the rotation systems. Micronaire from continuously grown cotton fiber was 1% and 3% greater than the fiber produced by cotton following 1 or 2 yr of corn, respectively. This minimal yield increase would probably not be sufficient to justify a change in cotton production systems; however, other economic factors or pest problems (disease, insects, weeds, or nematodes) might be important enough to justify a switch to this rotation.