Cotton Cultivation (Gossipium Spp)

cotton cultivation. COTTON (GOSSYPIUM SPP). Cotton is a fibre crop and belongs to the plant family called Malvaceae. It produces cotton lint, a white fibre used in textile industries.

Cotton refers to a soft, fluffy, and fibrous substance that surrounds the seeds of the cotton plant (Gossypium). It is one of the most widely used natural fibres in the world, valued for its comfort, breathability, and versatility.

The cotton plant belongs to the Malvaceae family and is cultivated for its fibres, which are used to produce a variety of textiles and products.

cultivation of cotton and features of Cotton

Key Features of Cotton:

  1. Fiber Characteristics:
    • Cotton fibres are natural plant fibres that grow in protective cases, known as bolls, around the seeds of the cotton plant. These fibres are composed of cellulose, a complex carbohydrate.
  2. Varieties:
    • There are several varieties of cotton, each with its unique fibre properties. The most common types include Upland cotton, Pima (or extra-long staple) cotton, and Egyptian cotton.
  3. Cotton Plant:
    • The cotton plant is a shrub native to tropical and subtropical regions. It requires warm temperatures and a moderate growing season. The plant produces vibrant flowers, and after pollination, the cotton fibres develop around the seeds within the protective bolls.
  4. Cottonseed:
    • Apart from the fibres, cottonseed is a valuable byproduct of cotton cultivation. It is used in the production of cottonseed oil, animal feed, and other industrial applications.

Uses of Cotton:

  1. Textiles:
    • Cotton is primarily used in the textile industry to produce a wide range of fabrics, including cotton yarns, denim, percale, and muslin. Its natural properties make it a popular choice for clothing and home textiles.
  2. Apparel:
    • Cotton is a preferred material for various types of clothing due to its breathability, comfort, and ability to absorb moisture. T-shirts, jeans, shirts, and undergarments are commonly made from cotton.
  3. Home Textiles:
    • Bedding, towels, sheets, and curtains are frequently made from cotton due to its softness and absorbent qualities.
  4. Medical and Hygiene Products:
    • Cotton is used in the production of medical supplies such as bandages, gauze, and cotton swabs due to its hypoallergenic and absorbent properties.
  5. Industrial Uses:
    • Cotton fibres are utilized in various industrial applications, including the manufacture of canvas, tents, industrial threads, and even banknotes.

Environmental Impact:

  1. Sustainable Practices:
    • Sustainable and organic cotton farming practices aim to reduce environmental impact, promoting soil health and minimizing the use of synthetic chemicals.
  2. Water Usage:
    • Traditional cotton cultivation has been criticized for its high water consumption. Efforts are being made to develop more water-efficient cotton varieties and farming practices.

Cotton is a significant global commodity, contributing to economies and providing a crucial raw material for various industries. However, sustainable practices are increasingly emphasized to address environmental concerns associated with traditional cotton farming.

cotton is cultivated in large quantities in the northern parts of Nigeria and it is one of the major cash crops in Nigeria. cotton wool serves as a major part of a first aid box in schools and hospitals

Land Preparation for cotton cultivation

The 1and is cleared with cutlass or mechanically ploughed and harrowed to make it soft for planting cotton seeds.

Varieties of cotton or Cultivars for cultivation

Gossypium hirsitum, Gosspium vitifolium, Ishan type, samaru, Gosspium peruvianum (meko cotton).

Cultivars, short for cultivated varieties, are specific varieties of crops that have been selectively bred for particular traits. In the case of cotton, numerous cultivars have been developed to address factors like fibre length, yield, resistance to pests, and adaptability to different growing conditions. Here are some notable cultivars of cotton:

  1. Deltapine (DP) Series:
    • Deltapine, often abbreviated as DP, is a well-known series of cotton cultivars developed by Delta and Pine Land Company. These cultivars are widely used in commercial cotton farming and are known for traits such as high yield and adaptability.
  2. FiberMax Series:
    • FiberMax is a series of cotton cultivars developed by Bayer CropScience. These cultivars are recognized for their high fiber quality, including fiber length and strength. FiberMax cotton is known for its performance in various cotton-producing regions.
  3. Stoneville Series:
    • Stoneville is a series of cotton cultivars developed by the Stoneville Pedigreed Seed Company. These cultivars are bred for traits such as yield, fiber quality, and resistance to pests and diseases.
  4. PHYTOGEN Series:
    • PHYTOGEN, developed by Corteva Agriscience, offers a range of cotton cultivars with traits such as high yield potential, strong fiber quality, and resistance to diseases and pests.
  5. Paymaster Series:
    • The Paymaster series includes cotton cultivars developed for their adaptability to specific growing conditions. These cultivars are often chosen for their ability to thrive in certain regions or under particular environmental factors.
  6. SureGrow Series:
    • SureGrow is a series of cotton cultivars developed to provide reliable performance and high yields. These cultivars are selected for their adaptability to different climates and soil types.
  7. Acala Cotton Varieties:
    • Acala is a group of Upland cotton cultivars primarily grown in the southwestern United States. Acala cotton is known for its consistent fibre length and quality, making it a preferred choice for denim production.
  8. Bollgard Series:
    • Bollgard is not a specific cultivar but a series that includes cotton cultivars genetically modified to express the Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) gene. Bt cotton is resistant to certain insect pests, reducing the need for chemical insecticides.
  9. Giza Cotton Varieties:
    • Giza cotton encompasses a range of cultivars grown in the Nile Delta region of Egypt. These cultivars, including Giza 45 and Giza 88, are known for their long staple length and fine fibres, making them suitable for luxury textiles.
Climatic and soil requirements for the cultivation of cotton:

Cotton requires a temperature of 250C – 35°C, rainfall of 65cm – 125cm per annum, abundant sunlight and a very rich, deep, loamy or clay-loamy soil

How To Cultivate Cotton

Cultivating cotton involves a series of steps, from soil preparation and planting to harvesting. Here’s a general guide on how to cultivate cotton:

1. Site Selection:

  • Choose a site with well-drained soil and good sunlight exposure. Cotton plants require full sunlight to grow and produce high-quality fibres.

2. Soil Preparation:

  • Conduct a soil test to determine soil fertility and pH. Cotton prefers slightly acidic to neutral soils. Prepare the soil by ploughing and levelling the field to create a smooth, even surface.

3. Planting:

  • Cotton is typically planted from seeds. Planting can be done directly in the field or through a transplanting process in seedbeds.
  • Plant seeds at the recommended depth, usually around 1 to 1.5 inches. Rows should be spaced according to the specific cultivar and regional recommendations.

4. Irrigation:

  • Cotton requires consistent moisture, especially during the germination and early growth stages. Adequate irrigation is crucial for proper plant development. Drip irrigation or furrow irrigation systems are commonly used.

5. Weed Control:

  • Implement effective weed control measures, as weeds can compete with cotton plants for nutrients and water. Use pre-emergence and post-emergence herbicides as needed.

6. Fertilization:

  • Apply fertilizers based on soil test results and regional recommendations. Cotton has specific nutrient requirements, with nitrogen being particularly important for plant growth and fibre development.

7. Pest Management:

  • Monitor the field regularly for pests such as boll weevils, aphids, and caterpillars. Implement integrated pest management (IPM) strategies, which may include the use of pest-resistant cotton varieties and targeted pesticide applications if necessary.

8. Disease Management:

  • Cotton plants can be susceptible to diseases such as bacterial blight and fungal infections. Follow recommended practices for disease prevention, including crop rotation and the use of disease-resistant cultivars.

9. Pruning and Thinning:

  • Depending on the cotton variety, consider pruning or thinning the plants to optimize yield and improve air circulation. This can help reduce the risk of diseases and improve overall plant health.

10. Harvesting:

  • Cotton is ready for harvest when bolls have matured and burst open. Harvesting is typically done mechanically using cotton pickers that separate the fibres from the seeds.
  • Harvest timing is critical to ensure maximum fibre quality. Delayed harvesting can lead to fibre deterioration.

11. Ginning:

  • After harvesting, the cotton fibres are separated from the seeds through a process called ginning. Ginned cotton is then compressed into bales for storage and transportation.

12. Post-Harvest Management:

  • Store harvested cotton in a clean and dry environment to prevent mould and contamination. Proper post-harvest handling is essential for maintaining fibre quality.

Successful cotton cultivation requires attention to detail, adherence to recommended practices, and the ability to address challenges such as pests and diseases promptly. Local agricultural extension services and resources can provide specific guidance based on regional conditions and practices.

Method of Propagation of Cotton:

By seeds.

Planting Date for cotton cultivation:

Cotton is planted in June and July in Northern Nigeria.
Seed rate: 15-20kg/ha.
Planting: Four to five seeds are sown per stand. These are later thinned to two seedlings per stand at 3cm deep.

Cultural Practices in cotton production

(i) Weeding: This is done at regular intervals

read  more of weed control methods here

(ii) Fertilizer Application: Apply 125kg of super phosphate fertilizer at sowing time
(iii) Mulching: This prevents evaporation and controls erosion.

Maturity period of cotton cultivation:

Cotton matures within five to eight months after planting.

Harvesting methods for cotton

Matured fruits (bolls) are handpicked and sun-dried

How to process cotton

Processing: Cotton cultivation for export is taken to a cotton ginnery after being dried. The seeds are then separated from the line which is made into bales of 80 kg either by hand or by bailing machines.

The seeds are also packed for export.

Storage in cotton cultivation:

Cotton is placed in a sack and kept in a dry place.

Pests of Cotton and control methods

(1) Cotton stainer (Dysdercus spp): as an important crop pest during cotton cultivation, the cotton stainer feeds on the contents of the boll and also transmits bacterial and fungal diseases. They stain the lints. you can read farm storage systems here

Control: By handpicking the insects and regular spraying with insecticides. read about insect borne disease here
(2) Boll worms: The caterpillars (larvae) eat their way into the boll and spoil the lint.
(i) This is done by handpicking.

(ii) Destruction of infected plants.

Diseases of cotton and control method

one of the most vicious pests of cotton during cotton cultivation is known as bacteria blight. (1) Bacteria blight: It is caused by a bacterium. Symptoms include angular spots which appear on the leaves and branches

(i) It is used by pressing(ii) Destroy and burn infected plants
(iii) Grow resistant varieties

(2) Leaf curl: It is caused by a virus transmitted by an insect. Affected leaves become twisted, mottled, vein clearing and curl at the margin.

Control: (i) Plant resistant varieties
(ii) Destroy infected plants by burning(3) Damping off: It is caused by a fungus which is spread through the soil. Cells of seedling become waterlogged, resulting in the death of the plants.

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