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Cotton: Planting And Package Of Practices

Cotton is the one of the most important cash crop cultivated to obtain fibre. It is popularly called as white gold which thrives well in black cotton soil under warm and humid environmental conditions. In this article, you will learn how to grow cotton crops to increase your farms’s productivity. 

Cotton Crop at a Glance 

Botanical Name: Gossypium spp. 

Common Name: Kapaas (Hindi), Kapaha (Punjabi), Paruthi (Tamil), Paruthi (Malayalam), Pathi (Telugu). 

Crop Season:  Kharif and Rabi  season 

Crop type: Cash crop 

Soil Requirements 

Cotton planting can be done in a wide range of soil, from medium to heavy soils. Black cotton soil is the most ideal soil type for the cultivation of cotton crops. Further, it can tolerate a pH ranging between 5.5 to 8.5. 

Climatic Requirements 

Cotton crop thrives well in hot and humid environmental conditions. For successful cotton planting, maintaining the ideal temperature is crucial. The temperature ranging from 21 to 27˚C and an annual rainfall between 500 to 700 mm are suitable for optimum growth of cotton. 

Package of Practices for Cotton 

Land preparation for Cotton 

The land used for cotton cultivation should be ploughed thoroughly with a mould board plough upto a depth of 15 to 20 cm, then harrowed two or three times. No stubbles should be left in the field and pre-sowing irrigation is essential for better establishment of the crop. 

Sowing time  

The timing of cotton planting varies depending on the season: 

  • Kharif irrigated: April to May 
  • Kharif rainfed: June to July 
  • Hybrids: July to August 
  • Rabi Season: September to October 
  • Summer season: February to March 

Seed rate and Spacing 

In general, cotton seeds should be sown in lines as follows 

Species  Seed Rate (kg/ha)  Spacing (cm) 
Gossypium hirsutum  12 to 15  60 cm × 30 cm 
Desi cotton  8 to 12  60 cm × 15 cm 
Hybrids  2 to 4  120 cm × 60 cm 

Seed Treatment  

For productive cultivation of cotton crops, treat the cotton seeds with sulphuric acid at 100 ml/kg of seed. The fuzz burns and the delinted seed should be washed thoroughly with water and dried under shade. 

Irrigation Schedule 

Waterlogging conditions should be avoided in cotton planting. In cotton cultivation,  the most critical stages of irrigation are squaring stage, flowering stage and boll development stage. In general, during kharif and rabi seasons 2-3 and 6-7 irrigations should be scheduled for better crop growth and development. 

Manures and Fertilizers 

To avoid unnecessary fertiliser consumption and boost profitability of the cotton farm, the fertiliser should be administered based on the results of a soil test. Application of available N, P and K at rates 120:60:60 kg/ha is recommended for hybrids and American cotton.  While for Desi cotton planting, apply a balanced amount of 40:20:20 kg N, P2O5 and K2O per hectare. 

Inter-cultivation Practices 

In cotton planting, the most crucial time for crop weed competition is the first 50 to 60 days. Pre emergence application of Stomp Xtra (Pendimethalin 38.7 % CS) at 600ml/acre and post emergence application of Hitweed (Pyrithiobac Sodium 10% EC) at 1 ml/L of water to control broad leaved weeds while, to control narrow leaved grasses in cotton planting post emergence application of Targa Super (Quizalofop ethyl 5% EC) at 400 ml/acre is recommended for efficient control of weeds in cotton farm. 

Crop Protection (Pests and Diseases) 

Pests of Cotton 

Insect  Scientfic Name  Symptoms  Management 
Spotted boll worm  Earias vitella 
  • Central shoot dry, wither and drops down 
  • Later, it bores into flower buds, bolls and causes shredding 
  • Apply Curacron (Profenofos 50% EC) at 1000 ml/acre 
  • Apply Marker (Bifenthrin 10 % EC) at 325 ml/acre 
American boll worm  Helicoverpa armigera 
  • Flaring up of bracts 
  • Bore holes filled with frass on squares 
  • Apply Plethora (Novaluron 5.25% + Indoxacarb 4.5% SC) at 2 ml/L of water 
  • Apply Ekalux (Quinalphos 25 % EC) at 400 ml/acre 
Pink boll worm  Pectinophora gossypiella 
  • Bore holes in cotton bolls 
  • Premature flower drop 
  • Rosetting of flowers 
  • Stains the lint 
  • Apply Proclaim (Emamectin Benzonate 5% SG) at 88 gm/acre to the cotton farm 
  • Apply Ampligo (Chlorantraniliprole 10% ) + Lambdacyhalothrin 5% ZC at 100 ml/acre 
Tobacco caterpillar  Spodoptera litura 
  • Irregular bore holes 
  • Skeletonization of leaves 
  • Heavy defoliation 
  • Apply Plethora (Novaluron 5.25% + Indoxacarb 4.5% SC) at 2 ml/L of water 
  • Apply Gunther (Novaluron 5.25% + Emamectin benzoate 0.9% SC) at 2 ml/L of water 
White fly  Bemicia tabaci 
  • Suck sap from the leaves 
  • Low quality lint 
  • Boll shedding occurs in severe cases 
  • Apply confidor (Imidacloprid 17.8 % SL) at 1 ml/L of water 
  • Apply Lancer Gold (Acephate 50 % + Imidacloprid 1.8 %  SP) at 400 gm/acre to the cotton farm 
Cotton Aphid  Aphis gossypii 
  • Both nymphs and adults suck the sap from leaves 
  • Shiny appearance due to honeydew secretion 


  • Apply confidor (Imidacloprid 17.8 % SL) at 1 ml/L of water 
  • Apply Lancer Gold (Acephate 50 % + Imidacloprid 1.8 %  SP) at 400 gm/acre 
Cotton mealy bug  Phenacoccus solenopsis 
  • Bushy shoots 
  • At an early stage of cotton planting, crop senescence may be seen 
  • Sooty mould formation 
  • Apply confidor (Imidacloprid 17.8 % SL) at 1 ml/L of water 
  • Apply Lancer Gold (Acephate 50 % + Imidacloprid 1.8 %  SP) at 400 gm/acre  

Diseases affecting Cotton Crop 

Disease  Scientfic Name  Symptoms  Management 
Fusarium wilt  Fusarium oxysporum 
  • Wilting of plant occurs 
  • Vascular tissues rot and turn black in colour 
  • Growth is stunted 
  • Drench the soil with Benmain (Carbendazim 50% DF) at 2 gm/Lit water 
Root Rot  Rhizoctonia bataticola 
  • Can be pulled out easily 
  • Death of plant 
  • Shoot wilt 
  • Drench the root zone with Blitox (Copper Oxychloride 50 % WP) at 2 gm/Lit water 
Anthracnose  Colletotrichum gossypii 
  • Black colour spots on boll 
  • Lint will be stained black depriving its quality 
  • Apply Cabrio Top (Metiram 55% + Pyraclostrobin 5% WG) at 600 gm/acre  
Alternaria leaf blight  Alternaria macrospora 
  • Small irregular spots with concentric circles 
  • They coalesce and become blighted 
  • Apply Cabrio Top (Metiram 55% + Pyraclostrobin 5% WG) at 600 gm/acre 
  • Apply Amistar Top (Azoxystrobin 18.2% + Difenoconazole 11.4% SC) at 200 ml/acre 


When the crop is matured, cotton is often harvested manually. The bolls should be harvested as soon as they are fully developed in the morning since cotton crop do not exhibit synchronous maturity. The yield of cotton usually ranges between 2 to 3 t/ha on an average in irrigated ecology and 3.5 to 4 t/ha for hybrids.   

Varieties/Hybrids of Cotton 

  • Desi cotton: Aravind, Sri Nandi, Yaganti, Kanchan, Krishna, LK 861, Digvijay 
  • American cotton: F-320, Laxmi, F-414 
  • Hybrids: H-4, Savitha, Surya, DCH 32, Om Shankar

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