Cotton Culture

The agricultural products of the cotton tree have been showing good prices, increasing the interest in the crop.

But, there are several problems that can occur along the crop and reduce cotton production.

That is why we have prepared this text to talk about some factors that can help you improve productivity on your farm.

Importance of cotton cultivation

The cotton crop has been cultivated for a long time in Brazil. From the cotton plant the seed and fiber are used.

The fiber is used for textile products and oil is extracted from the seed, which has as a by-product the filter cake used mainly in animal feed.

In addition, Brazil is the fifth largest cotton producer in the world, with China, India and the USA being the largest producers.

The cotton tree in the Cerrado and in Brazil as a whole has production systems with some particularities.

In view of all this, we will learn more about the cotton crop cycle and the factors for the good development of the crop and its productivity:

The cotton crop cycle

Crop cycle can vary from 130 to 220 days according to the cultivar.

Besides, in the development of the cotton tree there are the vegetative and reproductive phases in the plant, and some of these phases can occur at the same time.

In the reproductive part, the buds will give origin to the flowers.

The fruit of the cotton tree when green (not ripe) is called “apple”, while the ripe fruit is called “capulho”.

The final phase of the crop starts with the opening of the first capulho and ends with the application of defoliants and/or ripeners.

Estimating cotton crop productivity

The productivity estimation is a very important point for your agricultural management.

That’s why we make available for free a spreadsheet for you to estimate your cotton crop productivity.

This spreadsheet in Excel is very interactive and has a step-by-step for you to fill in the data.

See how easy it is to fill in and get the data. In addition, you can calculate the productivity estimate and organize these estimates by plot of your property.

I’ll show you an example to help you fill in the data:

Average weight of the capulhos

You must average the weight of all the hoods collected in at least 10 plants and divide by the number of hoods.

If you have collected 10 capulhos with the weights 5; 4,4; 5; 6; 5,1; 5,9; 4,5; 5,2; 3,9 and 5 =5 grams

Average number of hoods in 1 plant

You must perform the average number of capulhos in at least 10 plants.

For example, if you have collected in 10 plants the amount of capulhos: 7, 10, 11, 8, 12, 15, 9, 10, 12 and 9 = 10,3 is the average of capulhos per plant of your crop.

Number of existing cotton plants in 1 meter

Choose an area that represents the plot and count how many plants there are in 1 meter. If you prefer, you can count in several points of the plot and make an average.

Spacing of your crops

Normally in Brazil the spacing goes from 0.7 to 0.9 meters, being common the spacing of 0.76m.

After entering these data, you will automatically have the plant/hectare values and the seed cotton productivity estimate.

Factors that can increase productivity in your cotton crop

Knowledge about the cotton crop

In any activity it is extremely important to know about it.

So, for the cotton culture you must know the cycle of the culture, which we have already commented above.

In this way, you know the particularities of each phase of the culture, being important to know about the variety you will use in your area.

Remember also that the weather conditions required for growing cotton are very sunny days, with an average monthly temperature of over 20ºC and total rainfall in the growing period of 500 to 1500 mm.

Planning your crop

It is very important to have a good establishment of the cotton culture. So, you need to pay attention to yourself:

Choice of seeds and varieties for your crop

You have to know the seed you want to buy: what percentage of germination, variety and quality of the seeds.

It is also necessary to plan and carry out the seed treatment properly.

Also, remember to do the sowing at the right time and with a good soil correction.

Soil management

To determine which fertilizer you should use, if you need plastering and/or liming it is very important to perform the soil analysis of your property.

Remember that you need to perform the soil analysis periodically, because changes can occur from one crop to another.

Be sure to do this practice, thinking that you can save money, I guarantee you that you can lose a lot if you don’t plan the activities in your cultivation system correctly.

Thus, with the soil analysis, you can schedule the agricultural activities of your property, make budgets, purchase fertilizers and agricultural correctives in advance, with less value and manage your stock.

You can perform the soil analysis between one harvest and another, with 3 months before the planting of the harvest.

Learn more about soil analysis here and about the accredited laboratories in this other article.

Stock management

For the purchase of inputs in your crop, you must plan what you will use throughout the cultivation.

After that, you should observe the market, with the fluctuations of prices.

If you have a good planning, you can buy the inputs with lower price.

Normally, the value falls outside the harvest period, since the demand is lower at this time.

For the purchase of inputs in advance are important the practices of soil analysis, history of your property, estimated productivity, and others.

All this involves and should be included in your agricultural planning.

Thus, to manage your inventory, you need to monitor the purchase, use and stored product of inputs.

Planning of agricultural activities

You must plan all the agricultural activities that occur along the cotton crop.

Plan the activities of soil preparation, planting, fertilization, harvesting and others.

It is important that you plan these activities correlating with the climatic conditions, availability of inputs in stock, availability of agricultural machinery and professionals for the activities.

Pests and diseases can reduce the productivity of your crop, so it is important to know them and monitor them.