Cotton

Cotton is the most important among the natural plant fibers and land for cotton cultivation covers large areas of the planet. Due to climate, the growing areas are limited to a belt of 30° south and north from the equator. The largest cotton producing areas are in the USA, China, Paraguay, Mexico, Pakistan, Australia, Brazil, the C.I.S., Turkey, Sudan, and Egypt. It is not known precisely how old cotton is. In the Indus River Valley in Pakistan, cotton was being grown, spun, and woven into cloth 3,000 years BC. At about the same time, natives of Egypt’s Nile valley were making and wearing cotton clothing. When Columbus discovered America in 1492, he found cotton growing in the Bahama Islands. By 1500, cotton was known generally throughout the world.

Cotton (Gossypium spp.) belongs to the botanical family Malvaceae. It is an erect branched shrub, up to 3 m high. The cotton plant has an indeterminate growth habit, in that its vegetative and reproductive developments occur at the same time. The leaves are spirally arranged on the stems. They are generally palmate with 3 or 5 lobes, pubescent to glabrous. The flowers are solitary, pentamerous, white to pale yellow in color, and rarely tinted with purple in the center. They are borne on 1-4 cm long pedicels and wrapped into three bracteoles that remain around the fruit after pollination. The fruit (called a “boll”) is a capsule, that splits open when mature. Each capsule contains many seeds, each seed is surrounded with downy fiber, white or creamy in color and easily spun. Cotton has a tap root system, and the roots can grow up, making them twice if the plant height.

The plants development occurs through different phenological stages: vegetative and reproductive growth stages. After sowing, seeds germinate in 5 to 10 days and the cotton plant begins its growth with two cotyledons until the plant forms true leaves. As a cotton plant begins to grow, it develops a series of nodes up the main stem. Beginning with the fifth or sixth node, the plant begins to form fruiting branches, which bear the cotton fruit. Typically, a cotton plant will continue to add nodes and fruiting branches for a total of 16 to 22 nodes, with 12 to 16 fruiting branches.

Once pollinated, the flower petals wither and a green capsule or “boll” is formed. The capsule contains a few oil glands as well as many dark brown seeds that are encased in lint and fuzz. The fibers we associate as “cotton” are a matrix of singular, epidermal cells that are attached to the seed coat. The capsule eventually dries, and splits open on four sutures to reveal the seeds and white fibers. The edge of the opened capsule hardens and turns tan, turning into sharp, thorn-like claws surrounding the fibrous core. If not harvested, weather will eventually cause the fibers to scatter in the wind, dispersing seeds for later germination.

Cotton is a perennial plant cultivated as an annual.

The most widely cultivated cotton species are:

  • Gossypium hirsutum – Upland Cotton (accounts for more than 90% of world production, gives normally high-quality cotton with high strength and elasticity).
  • Gossypium herbaceum – Herbaceous cotton (is native to Pakistan, India and to some parts of Africa.)
  • Gossypium barbadense – It is cultivated in Egypt, Sudan, USA, Brazil and Peru.
  • Gossypium arboreum – Cotton tree (native to Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India). It is not widely cultivated, because it normally gives short fibers of poor quality.

Cotton is a semi-xerophyte plant, and it is grown in tropical & sub-tropical conditions. A minimum temperature of 15 °C is required for better germination at field conditions. The optimum temperature for vegetative growth is 21-27 °C and it can tolerate temperature to the extent of 43 °C but temperature below 21°C is detrimental to the crop. Cotton is best grown in soils with an excellent water holding capacity. Aeration and good drainage are equally important as the crop cannot withstand excessive moisture and water logging. The major soil types suitable for cotton cultivation are alluvial, clayey, and red sandy loam.

All nutrients play an important role in the metabolic activities of a plant. A nutrient higher in quantities cannot replace the role of another deficient nutrient. Plants express deficiency of a nutrient through symptoms on their leaves, stems and in their growth.

The crop also benefits from the application of products with a biostimulant action, based on beneficial microorganisms and vegetable protein hydrolysates. These products can stimulate the emergence and root development in the early stages of seedling development, to improve the availability of nutrients in the soil, to increase the yield from a quantitative and qualitative standpoint, to reduce the negative impact of climatic stresses and of herbicide treatments. The application of biostimulants increases the environmental and economic sustainability of the production system.

Nitrogen (N) is probably the most important fertilizer used on cotton, yet it is the most difficult to manage. Low N rates can reduce yield and quality while excessive N rates can cause rank growth, boll rot, delayed maturity, difficult defoliation, and poor quality and yield. Cotton demand for N is low early in the season, picks up through early fruiting, is high at peak bloom, and gradually declines as the crop approaches and proceeds through a cutout.

Phosphorus (P) is important in promoting early rooting. P can be applied in a starter fertilizer with N, which can be beneficial on heavier soils testing low in P or in cool soils. A starter fertilizer can also provide more benefit in wet and cooler conditions than in dry and hotter conditions. The uptake of P by cotton is most critical early in the growing season because P is necessary to stimulate early root development and early fruiting.

Potassium (K) is critical for boll formation. Like N, K is also required in large quantities after first bloom, and the demand for K can exceed N demand during this time. K uptake increases during early boll set, with some 70% of the total uptake occurring after first bloom. Soil application is the best way to supply K.

Sample Fertilization Plan

cotton_stages_seed_coating-web

Seed coating

Improve emergence and root development
Enhance nutrient availability and provide useful bacteria
cotton_stages_before_sowing-web

Before sowing

Improve soil fertility (chemical, physical and biological)
cotton_stages_leaf_development-web

Leaf development

Enhance nutrient availability and provide useful bacteria
cotton_stages_vegetative_growth-web

Vegetative growth

Reduce phytotoxicity and improve plant growth and enhance final flowers quality
cotton_stages_flowering-web

Flowering

Increase the yield
Increase the yield
cotton_stages_dev_fruits_seeds-01-web

Fruit development

Reduce phytotoxicity and improve plant growth and enhance final flowers quality

Request a fertilization plan

Some products may not be available in your region. Reach out to a sales rep to get a fertilization plan that fits your needs.

PRODUCT BENEFITS

Our seed treatment strategy is the best solution to start your cultivation. It is the sustainable basis of the entire crop cycle, allows for better germination, increases the resistance of plants to abiotic stresses, the availability of nutrients and the root development. Our seed treatments solutions have polyvalent and high persistence action that stimulate and support the development of the plant throughout the entire crop cycle. COVERON STIM is an innovative biostimulant specifically designed for seed treatment. It is rich in peptides 100% of vegetal origin and contains the exclusive peptide LRPP (Lateral Root Promoting Peptide), that has a strong and direct action on germination and roots development.

Organic fertilization provides organic matter and plant essential nutrients to the soil. It is important to reduce the necessity of repeated application of synthetic fertilizers to maintain soil fertility. For this reason, it is important to use organic fertilizers in pre-sowing, capable of improving the physical, chemical, and biological fertility of the soil with a high level of phosphorus, a fundamental element in the early stages of crop development. SONAR 7-15-3 is the ideal solutions for the organic fertilization of cotton before sowing. SONAR guarantees a great quantity of nutrients during the entire growth cycle of the plant, due to the gradual release of organic nitrogen and phosphorus.
All growers, conventional and organic, have an interest in gaining back the yield potential lost due to abiotic stresses.  It’s proven that on the average, farmers can harvest only 50% of the yield potential. The yield gap can be caused by biotic and abiotic stresses with a stronger negative impact of abiotic stresses. In fact, abiotic stresses like heat, cold, salt, drought and flooding caused from 65 to 75% of the yield gap, while biotic stress only 25 to 35%. TRAINER has been shown to consistently help plants better recover from stress events also after herbicide application by increasing antioxidant supply, stimulating antioxidant biosynthesis, and activating antioxidant defense enzymes. PSPs maintained higher photosynthetic activity and a better nutritional status in the shoot tissues leading to a higher crop performance. There are many protein hydrolysate products on the market, however, the composition of the products varies widely. With TRAINER, the concentration of peptides is the key and peptides have high availability to plants because they are in a ready-to-use form.
Nutrients in the soil are often unavailable for plants but specific bacteria are able to solubilize mineral elements and make them available for plant uptake. Besides, vegetal protein hydrolysates can modify the microbiome on plant tissues increasing the microbial biodiversity and especially plant growth promoting bacteria. GLYSS is a new generation plant biostimulant based on the combination of beneficial bacteria and vegetal protein hydrolysates including Plant Stimulating Peptides (PSP) enriched with Lateral Root Promoting Peptide (LRPP). GLYSS is suitable for seed treatment, but it can also be applied as foliar spray with herbicides. Glyss enhancing nutrient availability and providing useful bacteria increases the yield and quality, with positive impact also on soil biodiversity.
Mainly cultivated for its natural fiber, cotton also is the second largest potential source of plant protein and the fifth largest oil-producing plant in the world. Therefore, maintaining high quality fiber and cottonseed nutritional value is critical. TRAINER application as foliar spray with herbicide, in addition to reduce herbicide phytotoxicity and stress, is able to improve quality traits of the final product: fiber and seeds. This practice help farmers secure the best yields and return on investment when growing cotton.
Cotton yields may be limited unless adequate amounts of all required nutrients are accumulated in the plant during its growth. Most soils where cotton is grown commonly have deficiencies of nutrients that requires addition of fertilizers to optimize production. Mineral nutrient deficiencies can limit the growth and yield of cotton, particularly when they occur during the reproductive phase. For this reason, cotton producers should aim to eliminate the chance of mineral nutrients becoming limiting during the flowering and fruiting period. ISIDE is an organic-mineral fertilizer NPK with high level of gradual release nitrogen and potassium. The high content of potassium improves fruit quality and maturation.

Plan your harvest with our nutrient removal calculator

Select Country

International
International
Italy
Italy
Germany
Germany
France
France
Spain
Spain
United States
United States
Arab Federation
Arabic
Russia
Russia