28 May 2013

Be Your Own Cotton Doctor: On-line version

Understanding how various nutrient imbalances, disease risks, and other factors threaten cotton plant health, production, and fiber quality can be valuable in diagnosing and preventing field problems. In some situations, nutrient deficiencies and disease problems are related. Also, excessive levels of some nutrients can result in toxicity, complicating growth and development.

Of course, reliable tools such as plant tissue analysis, soil testing, and other laboratory techniques may be necessary to fully and correctly diagnose a crop or soil problem. Diagnostic tests should always include analysis of topsoil, subsoil, and plant tissue. Leaf tissue analysis is appropriate for all nutrients. Petiole analysis may also be used for nitrate-nitrogen (N03-N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), and sulfur (S).

With the increased yield potential of faster-fruiting cotton cultivars, particularly under irrigation or with abundant rainfall, a higher soil fertility maintenance and nutrient supply may be required in order to keep pace with nutrient uptake needs.

Let's take a walk through the cotton field and look at some ailments that can occur.

We will now take a closer look at these and other conditions that merit watching in the cotton field.
Healthy cotton leaves, stems, and roots will maximize photosynthetic activity and give the plant the best chance of producing maximum yield of quality lint as it matures.

Click on the following links to see some common cotton plant ailments:

Nutrient Deficiencies and Toxicities

Foliar, Stem, and Vascular Diseases

Root Diseases and Other Root-related Injuries

Herbicide Injury

Boll Rots and Other Disorders

Summing Up

Field observation is an important part of the total management process in producing high-yielding, high-quality cotton. Recognition of certain symptoms in the context of field history, weather conditions, insect and disease pressure, soil fertility, pest management treatments, and other factors can lead to a successful diagnosis of many cotton growth and health problems. Timely diagnosis is critical to minimizing crop damage, developing corrective action, and in preventing or reducing production limitations for successive crops.

Dr. C.S. Snyder, IPNI Nitrogen Program Director, Conway, Arkansas
Dr. W.M. (Mike) Stewart, IPNI Southern and Central Great Plains Region Director
Dr. R.L. Mikkelsen, IPNI Western Region Director
Dr. S.B. Phillips, IPNI Southeast U.S. Region Director

Illustrations by Craig Adams.

Additional Resources and References:
American Phytopathological Society >http://www.apsnet.org/Pages/default.aspx/<
COTMAN >http://www.cotman.org/<
Cotton Incorporated >http://www.cottoninc.com/<
Cotton Root Disorders >http://cipm.ncsu.edu/cottonpickin/disorders/<

This publication is also available is hardcopy for US$1.00 plus shipping. Discounts on quantity orders. Contact: IPNI Circulation at circulation@ipni.net