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
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.
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.
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|
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.
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.
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
|Spotted boll worm||Earias vitella||
|American boll worm||Helicoverpa armigera||
|Pink boll worm||Pectinophora gossypiella||
|Tobacco caterpillar||Spodoptera litura||
|White fly||Bemicia tabaci||
|Cotton Aphid||Aphis gossypii||
|Cotton mealy bug||Phenacoccus solenopsis||
Diseases affecting Cotton Crop
|Fusarium wilt||Fusarium oxysporum||
|Root Rot||Rhizoctonia bataticola||
|Alternaria leaf blight||Alternaria macrospora||
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