Introduction to the cotton crop
Cotton is a dicotyledonous plant, angiosperm and belongs to the family Malvaceae. The cotton is mainly cultivated for its fibre and in some cases for seeds. Cotton acts as a major source for the industrial and agricultural sectors and an important cash crop. Almost millions of farmers in India engaged in cotton cultivation. Apart from which cotton industries avail job for nearly half-century million peoples India. Hence, cotton is an important commodity in the World economy in providing raw materials to the textile industries. The cotton is a perennial crop, which is cultivated as an annual crop by the farmers. There are cotton four species:
Old World Cotton (Diploid)
- Gossypium arboreum – Cotton tree. It is not widely cultivated, because it normally gives short fibers of poor quality.
- Gossypium herbaceum – Herbaceous cotton
New World Cotton (Tetraploid)
- Gossypium barbadense – Egyptian cotton or Sea island cotton or Peruvian Cotton or Tanguish Cotton or quality cotton
- Gossypium hirsutum – Upland Cotton or American cotton
Cotton prefers to grow in a warm climate. The world-leading countries in producing cotton are China, US, Uzbekistan, Brazil and Turkey are some of. About 2.5% of world agriculture or farming land is planted with cotton.
In India, the major cotton-growing states are divided into three zones, viz. north zone, central zone and south zone. North zone includes Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan. The central zone includes Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. South zone cotton cultivating states are Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Irrigated crop: MCU 5, TCH 213(hybrid), Savita(hybrid)
Rainfed crop: LRA 5166
Soil and climate for cotton cultivation: Cotton grows in a varied soil type condition of well-drained deep alluvial soil to black clay soil and can partially tolerate salinity. It germinates well at 150C and can tolerate up to 430C, but requires an optimum temperature of 21-270C.
Spacing for cotton cultivation:
Irrigated cotton crop: 90×60 cm or 120×60 cm
Rainfed cotton crop: 60×30 cm
Seed rate in cotton farming
Irrigated cotton crop: 5 kg of delinted seed or 8 kg of fuzzy seed
Rain-fed cotton crop: 8-10 kg of delinted seed and 10-12 kg of fuzzy seed.
Cotton planting: The land is prepared well by ploughing and leveling. After which ridges and furrows are made and the seeds are sown. The seeds are placed either by tractor or bullock drew seed drilling or through seed dibbling technique. The planting season in northern India is during april-may and in southern India it is August-September.
Manuring in Cotton farming: Five tons of FYM is applied to one acre in order to enhance soil fertility. The recommended dose of N:P:K is 80:40:40. Bio-fertilizers such as Azospirillum, Phosphobacteria, and Azotobacter is applied to enhance nutrients.
Cotton irrigation: The crop to be given 18 irrigations. Copious irrigation to be provided during the flowering stage and controlled irrigation to provide during the maturity stage
Special cotton intercultural operations
Thinning operation in cotton: Thinning is the process of removal of excess seedling by excluding week seedlings and off-types by which optimum population can be maintained to obtain high yield.
Gap filling in cotton: The process of filling the gaps created by poor or no germination of seeds after 7 days of sowing seeds.
Topping or nipping in Cotton: The process of removal of a top portion of 2-3 leaves to enhance the growth of lateral branches.
Weeding in Cotton cultivation: Weeding is done after every 45, 60 and 90 days after planting.
Harvesting in Cotton farming:
Cotton will be ready for harvesting after six months from the date of planting. Many harvesting will be done during morning hours up to 10 am. The bolls are to be picked up manually without any dust. Good cotton and bad cotton to kept separately. The harvested cotton is to be dried for getting proper quality. After drying the cotton, store well.
In one acre around 400-500 kg of lint cotton and 1400-1600 kg of seed, cotton will be obtained. The quantity of cotton is generally expressed in a bale which is equivalent to 170 kg of cotton.
Major insect pests of cotton: Boll worms, dusky cotton bugs and red cotton bugs which damages the quality of cotton. This can be controlled by applying chlorpyriphos. The sucking pest like aphids, jassids and thrips can be controlled by spraying imidacloprid @100 ml per ha.
Major diseases of cotton: The major diseases are a bacterial blight, grey mildew and Alternaria leaf spot can be controlled by the application of copper oxychloride @1.5 kg per ha and carbendazim @ 250 g per ha.
Cost of cultivation in cotton farming:
|Seeds and sowing
|Harvest and drying
Therefore, the total cost of cotton cultivation = Rs. 21,650
Cost of income returns or profits in cotton cultivation:
The market value of cotton is Rs. 40- 50 per kg. Thus the total gross return of cotton per acre is Rs. 63,000. The benefit-cost ratio will be around 2.6, hence cotton cultivation is profitable.
Conclusion of cotton farming: Cultivation of cotton under proper requirements and proper maintenance will fetch a profitable return to the farmers.