Friday, August 18, 2017

Time Nears for Cotton Flowers to Cut Out Their Growth

Plants can be like people. Both eventually mature and stop growing.

For cotton, maturity usually comes around late August. This is an important time for growers to make a crucial decision about their harvest date later in the fall.
Growers are planning for final cotton irrigation of the season.

With that, field scout Damien Jelen says “growers are getting ready for the final irrigation.”
Growth. Irrigation. What does this mean?

Here’s what local county UC Cooperative Extension farm advisers say: “Setting a desired harvest date is the primary step in determining final irrigation date. The field manager has to identify what flowering date corresponds with the last flower likely to be taken to maturity. In fields that progress toward cutout at early dates, proper timing of final irrigations can produce savings in applied water under some conditions without negative impacts on yield.”
Let’s do a little translating here. 

Here is an example of mature cotton nodes.
Cotton reaches maturity when the plants are at three to five Nodes Above White Flower (NAWF). This stage is called cutout, a time when cotton bolls are mature and about 95 percent of the crop has been set. Cutout is the final stage before the boll cracks open. It’s an important barometer for growers because cutout offers a good indication about the cotton yield at harvest time. 

To sum up, watching the plants progress toward and into cutout is one of the best indicators to decide the timing of the final irrigation date. Counting NAWF is a proven way to estimate the crops maturity and the start of cutout.

So how to you measure Nodes Above White Flower? Here’s what UC IPM says about measuring Nodes Above White Flower:
  • Select a minimum of 5 plants with a first-position flower from each of four different areas in the field.
  • Count the node with a first-position flower as zero and move toward the terminal.
  • Record the total nodes above white flower for all of the samples.
  • Record the number of plants sampled.
  • Divide the total number of nodes by the total number of plants sampled.
If the terminal node has a leaf associated with it of at least 1 inch in diameter, consider it a new node, UC IPM says. Now it’s time to get your calculator out and start counting.

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