Cotton is one of the most important fibre and cash crop of India as well as of entire world. It plays a dominant role in the industrial and agricultural economy of the country. It provides the basic raw material to cotton textile industry. In India it provides direct livelihood to 6 million farmers and about 40-50 million people are employed in cotton trade and its processing. Cotton is a water thirsty crop and around 6% of the water for irrigation in is used for its cultivation. In India, it is grown on a large scale in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. Gujarat is the largest producer of cotton followed by Maharashtra and Punjab. It is vital kharif crop of Punjab. The average lint yield of the State is around 697 kg per hectare.
It can be grown on all type of soil having pH ranges in-between 6 and 8. Deep, friable, well drained and fertile soil are good for crop cultivation. Sandy, saline or water logged soils are not suitable for cotton cultivation. The depth of soil should not be less than 20-25 cm.
Popular varieties with yield:-
RCH 134BT: It is high yielding Bt cotton variety. It is resistant to bollworm and American bollworm. It matures in 160-165 days. It give average yield of 11.5 qtl/acre of seed cotton. Very good fibre property with 34.4% ginning outturn.
RCH 317BT: It is high yielding Bt cotton variety. It is resistant to spotted bollworm and American bollworm. It mature in 160-165 days. Boll size is about 3.8 cm with good fluffy opening. Gives average yield of 10.5 qtl/acre. gives 33.9% of ginning outturn.
MRC 6301BT: It is high yielding Bt cotton variety. It is resistant to spotted bollworm and American bollworm. It mature in 160-165 days. Boll size of 4.3 g. It gives average yield of 10 qtl/acre and 34.7% ginning outturn.
MRC 6304BT: It is high yielding Bt cotton variety. It is resistant to spotted bollworm and American bollworm. It mature in 160-165 days. Boll size of 3.9 g. It gives average yield of 10.1 qtl/acre and 35.2% ginning outturn.
Ankur 651: This is Jassid tolerant and leaf curl resistant hybrid. Plant is of 97 cm height. It matures in 170 days. Suitable for cotton - wheat rotation. Gives average yield of 7 qtl/acre. It matures in 170 days. 32.5% ginning outturn.
Whitegold: It is hybrid, tolerant to leaf curl virus disease. It has dark green broad lobed leaves. Plants average height is about 125 cm. Matures in 180 days. Gives cotton seed yield of 6.5 qtl/acre. Ginning outturn is 30%.
LHH 144: Leaf curl resistant hybrid. Leaves are of semi okra lobed types. Average boll weight is 5.5 gm. It matures in 180 days and suitable for cotton-wheat rotation. Gives average seed yield of 7.6 qtl/acre. Ginning outturn is 33%.
F 1861: It is variety, tolerant to leaf curl virus disease. Average plant height is 135 cm. It matures in 180 days. It gives average seed cotton yield of 6.5 qtl/acre. Its ginning outturn is 33.5%.
F 1378: High yielding variety. Average plant height is 150 cm. Boll are round and big with good fluffy opening. It matures in 180 days. Gives average yield of 10 qtl/acre. Ginning outturn is 35.5%.
F 846: It is semi spreading, high yielding variety. Average plant height of 134 cm. It matures in 180 days. Gives average yield of 11 qtl/acre. The ginning outturn is 35.3%.
LHH 1556: It is short duration early maturing variety. Plant height is about 140 cm. Leaves are light green and boll are of round shape. Gives yield of 8.5 qtl/acre. It matures in 165 days.
Moti: Fusarium wilt tolerant desi cotton hybrid. Average plant height is about 164 cm. Leaves are narrow with white flowers. Boll are of large size. It mature in 165 days. Gives average yield of 8.45 qtl per acre. Ginning outturn is 38.6%.
FMDH 9: Plant having green body, its leaves are narrow lobed leaves and white flowers. Its bolls are medium and fluffy opening. Ready to harvest in 160 days. It is resistant to jassid, whitefly and tolerant to Fusarium wilt and Bacterila blight. Its ginning outturn is 37.3% and fibre length is 23.4 mm. It give average yield of 10 qtl/acre.
FDK 124: High yielding, early maturing variety having green and narrow lobed leaves. Ready to harvest in 160 days. It give resistance to whitefly and jassid. Its fibre length is 21 mm and ginning outtuns of 36.4%. It give average yield of 9.3 qtl/acre.
LD 694: Desi cotton variety. Leaves are narrow with pink flowers. Boll are of big size. Matures in 170 days. Gives ginning outturn of 40.9%. It gives average yield of 7 qtl/acre. Tolerant to Fusarium wilt and resistant to jassid.
LD 327: It is high yielding variety. Plants having reddish brown, narrow lobed deep cut leaves with pink flower. Boll are of big size and easy picking. It matures in 175 days. Tolerant to Fusarium wilt. Gives average yield of 11.5 qtl/acre. Gives ginning percent of 41.9.
LD 1019: The variety is resistant to shattering. It gives an average yield of 8.6qtl/acre. 2-3 pickings are required. The variety is tolerant to shattering. The fibre length is 22.6mm and ginning out turn is 35.77%.
BCHH 6488 BG II: Hybrid having green narrow lobed leaves with cream flower. Ready to harvest in 165-170 days. It give ginning outturns of 34.5% and fibre length of 27 mm. But it is susceptible to cotton leaf curl and affected by high incidence of para wilt.
BCHH 6588 BG II: It is popular among farmer.
American varieties of cotton
PAU Bt 1: First Bt cotton variety which is developed in public sector. It gives an average yield of 11.2qtl/acre of seed cotton yield. The variety is moderately resistant to cotton curl disease. The boll size is 4.3gm and ginning out turn is 41.4%.
RCH 650 BG II: High yielding Bt cotton hybrid, gives resistance against American, pink and spotted bollworm, also against tobacco caterpillars. Its ball are big and have average weight of 4.5 gm. Its fibre length is 25.5 mm and ginning percent is 34%. It gives average yield of seed cotton about 9.5 qtl/acre.
NCS 855 BG II: High yielding Bt cotton hybrid, gives resistance against American, pink and spotted bollworm, also against tobacco caterpillars. It is tolerant to para wilt. Its fibre length is about 28.5 mm and ginning outturn of 36%. It gives average yield of seed cotton about 9.7 qtl/acre.
ANKUR 3028 BG II: High yielding Bt cotton hybrid, gives resistance against American, pink and spotted bollworm, also against tobacco caterpillars. It is moderately tolerant to leaf curl virus and para wilt. Its fibre length is about 31.3 mm and ginning outturn of 31.4%. It give average yield of 9.7 qtl/acre.
MRC 7017 BG II : High yielding, early maturing variety having resistance to tobacco caterpillars, American, pink and spotted bollworm. Also give resistance to leaf curl virus and para wilt. Its fibre quality is good having fibre length of 29.7 mm and ginning outturn of 33.6%. It give average yield of 10.4 qtl/acre.
MRC 7031 BG II : High yielding, early maturing variety having resistance to tobacco caterpillars, American, pink and spotted bollworm. Also give resistance to leaf curl virus and tolerant to para wilt. Its fibre length is 29.4 mm and ginning outturns is 33.4%. It give average yield of 9.8 qtl/acre.
Other state varieties:
Ankur 226BG, PCH 406 BT, Sigma Bt, SDS 1368 Bt, SDS 9Bt, NAMCOT 402 Bt, GK 206 Bt, 6317 Bt, 6488 Bt, MRC 7017 BG II, MRC 7031 BG II, NCS 145 BG II , ACH 33-2 BG II, JKCH 1050 Bt, MRC 6025 Bt, MRC 6029 Bt, NCS 913 Bt, NCS 138 Bt, RCH 308 Bt, RCH 314 Bt
It required thorough land preparation for good germination and growth of crop. After removal of Rabi crop, irrigate field immediately then take ploughing of land with MB plough and planking. Carry out deep ploughing once in three years, it will help to keep check on perennial weeds also kill various soil borne pest and diseases.
Time of sowing
Optimum time for sowing is in April - mid May. For Management of Mealybug, sow Bajra, Arhar, Maize and Jowar in the fields surrounding cotton crop. Avoid growing tur, moong and bhendi in and around cotton field as these harbour insect pests. In Punjab cotton wheat rotation is common but rotation with berseem and clusterbean has been found to have beneficial effect on the succeeding cotton crop.
For American cotton use spacing of 75x15 cm under irrigated condition while under rain fed condition use spacing of 60x30 cm. For desi cotton use spacing of 60x30 cm for rain fed as well as for irrigated condition.
Sowing should be done at depth of 5 cm.
Method of sowing
For sowing use seed drill for desi cotton while dibbling of seed is done in case of hybrids and Bt cotton. Square planting is beneficial compared to rectangular planting. Few gaps arise due to failure of seed germination and mortality of seedling. To overcome this gap filling is necessary. Two weeks after sowing the weak/diseased/damaged seedlings should be removed by keeping a healthy seedling/hill.
Seed rate varies with variety, growing zones, irrigation etc. Use seed rate for American cotton [email protected] Kg/acre while for American cotton variety use seed rate of 3.5 kg/acre. For desi cotton [email protected] kg/acre and 3 kg/acre for desi cotton varieties.
Seed of cotton is covered by short fibre in American cotton. Before sowing removal of this necessary as it will make difficulty for sowing. It can be removed by chemical and Non-chemical method.
In Non-chemical method, seeds are soaked in water overnight, then next day rubbed with cowdung and wood ash or saw dust then dried in shed before sowing.
In chemical method, Depending upon the fibres on the seeds, mix the 400 gm concentrated Sulphuric acid (Industrial grade) in per 4 kg seeds for American cotton and 300 gm for 3 kg Desi cotton seed for 2-3 minutes. It will burn all the fibers of seeds. Then 10 Ltr of water in container, stir well and drained out the water. Wash the seeds for three times with normal water and then lime water (Sodium Bicarbonate@50gm/10Ltr of water) for 1 min. Give one more washing then dry the seeds in shed.
Do not use Metal or wood container instead use plastic or earthen pot and use plastic glove by operator for chemical method.
To protect from sucking pest attacks (upto 15-20 days) treat seeds with Imidacloprid (Confidor) 5-7ml or Thiamethoxam (CRUISER)@ 5-7gm/kg of seeds.
Fungicide name Quantity (Dosage per kg seed)
Imidacloprid 5-7 ml
Thiamethoxam 5-7 gm
Fertilizer Requirement (kg/acre)
VARIETIES UREA DAP or SSP MOP
Bt 65 27 75 -
Non Bt 130 27 75 -
VARIETIES NITROGEN PHOSPHORUS POTASSIUM
Bt 30 12 #
Non Bt 60 12 #
Judicious use of fertilizers, irrigation and clean cultivation will prevent early build-up of pests and helps to conserve natural enemies of pests. To enhance subsidiary growth to have maximum number of boll bearing branches, cut top of growing point of main branch at around 5 feet height. At the time of last ploughing apply well decomposed cow dung @ 5-10 ton for rainfed and 10-20 ton per acre for irrigated soil. It will help to conserved moisture in soil. Fertilizer doses for Cotton varieties, apply Urea@65 kg and DAP@27 kg or SSP@75 kg per acre. And in case of hybrids, apply 130 kg/acre of Urea and DAP@27 kg or SSP@75 kg/acre. If DAP@27 kg is used instead of SSP then reduced Urea dose by 10 kg.
Apply whole dose of phosphorus in last ploughing. Apply half of Nitrogen fertilizer at time of thinning and remaining half at the appearance of first flower. For low fertile soil, apply half dose of Nitrogen at time of sowing. To reduce nitrogen loss from Urea mix 8 kg sulphur powder/ 50 kg Urea and apply in between rows of standing crop.
WSF: 80-100 days after sowing, if no or poor flowering is observed then to enhance flowering spray with multi micronutrient fertilizer@750 gm/acre/150 Ltr of water. In case bt varieties to improve yield, spray with 13:0:45@10 gm or Potash@5 gm/Ltr of water at evening time on 85, 95 & 105th days after sowing. Also to get higher yield, take alternate sprays of Potassium@10 gm/Ltr and DAP@20 gm/Ltr (2-3 sprays each at 15 days interval from first blooming). Sometime flower and square drop is observed then to control flower drop and to obtain good yield spray with Planofix(NAA) @4 ml and Multi Micronutrient fertilizer@120 gm, Magnesium Sulphate@150 gm/15 Ltr water. Due to bad weather effect boll drop is seen then to control, spray 00:52:34@100 gm+Humic acid(>12%) @30 ml+Sticker @6 ml in 15 Ltr water thrice at 10 days interval. Leaf reddening is deficiency observed now a day. It cause mainly due to lack of nutrient management. It can be corrected by proper fertilizer management. For that take Foliar spray of MgSO4@1 kg, followed by Urea@2 kg in 100 Ltr water.
Due to wide spaced crop weeds pose serious threat. A weed free period of 50-60 days from sowing is necessary for good yield otherwise it may cause 60-80% reduction in yields. Manual, mechanical and chemical methods of weed control in combination is necessary for effective weed control. Carry out first manual hoeing 5-6 weeks after sowing or before first irrigation. Remaining hoeing should be done after each irrigation. Do not allow congress grass to grow around cotton fields, as they increase the possibility of mealy bug infestation.
Recommended time for irrigations is given below in the table:-
Critical stages Irrigation Interval
Branching and Square formation 45-50 days after sowing
Flowering and Fruiting stage 75-85 days after sowing
Boll formation 95-105 days after sowing
Boll development and boll opening 115-125 days after sowing
Cotton required four to six irrigation depending upon rainfall intensity. Give first Irrigation to the crop four to six week after sowing. And remaining irrigation at interval of two or three weeks. Never let water to stand in younger plants. Do not let the crop to suffer for want of water during flowering and fruiting to avoid the shedding of flowers and bolls. Give last irrigation to the crop when 33% of bolls are opened and after that there is no need of more water through irrigation.
Whenever salty water has to use for irrigation, the water should be get tested from authenticated laboratory and as per their recommendation, Gypsum or Pyrite may be added. In Drought Condition, alternate furrow irrigation and use of micro irrigation system (wherever feasible) will be of immense help in saving irrigation water.
Disease and their control:-
Fusarium wilt: Plants become stunted, yellow, followed by defoliation. Yellowing first occurs around leaf edges and advances inward. Infected plants fruit earlier and produce smaller bolls. It causes a blackening and discoloration just found in a ring just beneath the bark. It affect at all stage of crop.
Use resistant variety to control Fusarium wilt. Avoid continuous planting of cotton in same field. Follow proper crop rotation. Provide good drainage. Treat seed with Trichoderma viride formulation @ 4 gm/kg of seed. To control prepare the solution of Thiophanate Methyl @10 gm and Urea each of 50 gm/10 litre of water and apply near base of plants.
Alternaria Leaf spot: Small, pale to brown, round or irregular spots of circular to semi-circular size with broad margins appear on leaves. Affected leaves become dry and get fall off. It may causes cankers on stem. Infection is spread to boll, then rotting of boll occurred afterwards they get fall off. Plants stressed by drought, nutrient deficiency and other pests are more susceptible to the disease.
To control this disease, spray Tebuconazole@1 ml/litre or Trifloxystrobin+Tebuconazole@ 0.6 g/litre, on 60th, 90th and 120 days after sowing. If infestation of disease is observed in field, spray with Copper Oxychloride or Captan@500 gm/200 Ltr of water per acre or 12% Carbendazim + 63% WP Mancozeb@25 gm/10 Ltr water.
Cercospora leaf spot: Circular red lesions on leaves which enlarge and turn white or grey in the centre; lesions often have a pattern of concentric rings and possess a red margin. Dark grey spore masses form in the centres of the lesions making them appear dark grey.
If infestation of disease is observed in field, spray crop with Copper Oxychloride@3 gm/litre or [email protected] gm/ltr, 3 to 4 times in every 15 days interval.
Anthracnose: small, reddish or light colored diseased spots are observed on plant leaves. Wounds are form on stem and thus plant get weaken. It attack boll at any stage and infection spread to lint and seed. The bolls affected by the disease have small, water-soaked, circular, slightly depressed, reddish brown spots.
Before sowing, treat seeds with Captan or Carbendazim @3-4 gm/kg of seeds. Avoid water logging in field. If infection observed, remove affected plant and destroyed them away from field and take Spraying with Carbendazim @1 gm/lit of water.
Root rot: Sudden and complete wilting of plants. Leaves give yellow appearance. Affected plants can be easily pulled out. Except the tap root, few secondary roots are fresh which holds the plant and other roots are decayed.
Before sowing apply neem cake@60 kg/acre to the soil. Treat seeds with T. viride @ 4 gm/kg of seeds to reduce root rot incidence. If infection is observed do spot drenching of Carbendazim@1 gm/lit at the base of affected plants as well as surrounding healthy plants.
Pest and their control:-
American Bollworm: Eggs are laid singly on both upper and lower leaf surfaces. Newly hatched larva is yellowish white with brown black head. Later, body color changes to darker and after that changes to brownish. Due to infestation of this pest, circular holes are observed on boll. Presence of granular faecal pellets outside the bore hole. Single larva can damage 30-40 bolls. To check infestation use light traps, pheromone traps.
Avoid continuous cropping of cotton. Avoid mono-cropping. Growing of less preferred crops like green gram, black gram, soybean, castor, sorghum etc., along with the cotton as inter-crop or border crop to reduce the pest infestation. Before sowing of cotton, remove crop residue of previous crops. Use optimum quantity of water and avoid excess use of nitrogen fertilizer. Use resistive varieties. Don’t use synthetic Pyrethroids to control American Bollworm. In case of severe infection Spray any one from Cypermethrin @ 1 ml/Ltr of water or Deltamethrin @1 ml/Ltr of water or Fenvalerate @1 ml/Ltr or Lambda cyhalothrin @1 ml/Ltr of water on affected crops, depending upon availability. For effective control of boll worms, never spray pesticides of single group more than once.
Pink boll worm: Young larva is of white color and late instar is vary in color ranging from almost black, brown or green to pale or pink. To monitor adult moths activity, use pheromone trap. If infestation is observed do dusting of Carbaryl 5%D@10 kg/acre. In case of severe infestation, spray with Triazophos 40 EC@300 ml/acre.
Tobacco Caterpillar: It attacks on crop in group and Scrapping the epidermal layer, leaving the skeleton of veins of leaf. During severe attack only stem and side shoots will be standing. Eggs of tobacco caterpillar are of golden brown and appears in masses. Larva is of greenish color.
Use light trap to know intensity of pest. Set up the sex pheromone trap at 5/acre. Do manual inspection for pest. Larva are found in cluster, collect and destroyed early stage larva also grown up caterpillar. In case of high infestation spray any one of the insecticides, Chlorpyriphos 20 EC@1 Ltr/acre or Chlorantraniliprole 18.5% SC@50 ml/acre or Diflubenzuron 25%WP@100-150 gm/acre. Spraying of insecticides should be done either in the early morning or in the evening.
Jassids: Nymphs and adults of jassids suck sap from underside leaves and causing of curling. Leaves turn red or brown then dry up and shed. Apply Carbofuran 3 G@14 kg or Phorate 10 G@5 kg/acre near to root zone in moist soil. When upper canopy show yellowing and curling of leaves on 50% of plants, take spraying of insecticides. Spray Imidacloprid 17.8 SL@40-50 ml or Thiamethoxam @40 gram or Acetamiprid @75 gm/acre/200 liters of water.
Spotted Bollworm: Larva is of dull green, black bristles color and having lines of black spots on body. Due to incidence of bollworm, drying and drooping of terminal shoots during pre–flowering stage is observed. It create holes on boll and then causes rotting of boll.
If infestation is observed, to control spray with Profenophos 50 EC@500 ml/200 Ltr of water/acre.
Mealy bugs: Found under surface of leaves in clusters and secrete wax like substance. Due to honey dew like secretion, sooty mould is developed and affected plant gives sick, black appearance.
Grow Maize, bajra and jawar as barrier crops. Do not throw mealy bug infested uprooted plants in water channels or vacant spaces, instead burn them. Do not allow congress grass to grow around cotton fields, as they increase the possibility of attack by mealy bug. To control spread of mealy bugs in newer areas, avoid movement of human beings or animals from infected area to healthy crop. At initial stage, Neem seed kernel extract (NSKE 5%) 50 ml/ltr + Detergent powder@1 gm/ltr can be sprayed as spot application on infested plants. In case of severe infestation, spray Profenophos@500 ml/acre in 150 Ltr of water. Mix one teaspoon washing powder in each 15 Ltr tank Or Quinalphos25 EC@5 ml/liter of water or Chlorpyriphos20 EC @3 ml/liter of water.
White fly: Nymph are of yellow oval while adult are of yellow body covered with a white waxy bloom. They suck the sap from leaves, which lead into poor photosynthesis. It also act as a medium of transferring leaf curl virus disease. In severe infestation defoliation, shedding of boll and poor opening of boll is observed. Developed sooty mould and plant give sick, black appearance.
Avoid continuous growing of cotton in same field. Adopting crop rotation with non-preferred hosts such as sorghum, ragi, maize etc., Avoid excess vegetative growth for that avoid excess use of nitrogen. Do timely sowing of crop. Keep field clean. Cultivation of most preferred alternate host crops like eggplant, okra, tomato, tobacco and sunflower may be avoided. Install yellow sticky traps for monitoring white fly (2 traps/acre). If infestation white flies is observed then to control, Spray Triazophos @3 ml/Ltr or Thiacloprid @4.5 gm/Ltr water or Acetamiprid@4 gm or 75 WP Acephate@800 gm/200 Ltr water or Imidachloprid@40 ml/acre dissolved in 200 litre of water or Thiamethoxam@40 gm/acre using 200 litre water.
Thrips: Both nymphs and adults lacerate & feed the sap from under surface of leaves. Upper side of leaf turns brown and lower side becomes silvery white.
Seed treatment with imidacloprid 70 WS@7 ml/kg protect the crop from aphids,leaf-hoppers and thrips up to 8 weeks. Spray any one of the insecticides like Methyl demeton 25 EC@160 ml/acre, Buprofezin 25%SC@350 ml/acre, Fipronil 5% SC@200-300 ml/acre, Imidacloprid 70% WG @10-30 ml/acre, Thiamethoxam 25% WG 30 gm/acre in 200 Ltr of water per acre.
Deficiency and their Remedy:-
Initially observed in mature leaves then spread throughout canopy. Leaf reddening can be corrected by proper fertilizer management. Take Foliar spray of MgSO4@1kg, followed by Urea@2kg/100Ltr water
Plant growth get stunted and leaves become light green color. Lower leaves show yellowing. In severe conditions, leaves get brown and dry.
Younger Leaves show more dark green appearance. Older leaves become small in size and developed purple and red pigmentation.
Due to potash deficiency, shading of leaves is observed also boll opening is not proper. Leaves get curled and become dry.
Growth get affected and plant become stunted. Terminal buds show drying off followed by distorted tips or young leaves.
Picking of bolls should be done when bolls are fully mature. Avoid picking of wet bolls, pick cotton free from dry leaves trash. Damaged boll should be picked separately and discarded for seed purpose. The first and last picking are usually of low quality and should not be mixed with rest of the produce to fetch better price. Pick boll should be clean and dry to get good price. Do picking when there is no dew. Picking should be regularly done after every 7-8 days to avoid losses incurred due to fall of the cotton on ground. Delay in picking leads to falling of cotton on the ground which results in deterioration of quality. Harvest the American cotton at the interval of 15-20days and Desi cotton at 8-10 days interval. The picked kapas should be properly cleaned before taking to the market for sale.
After harvesting, Let the sheep, goats and other animals feed in the cotton field so that these animal can eat bollworm affected bolls and leaves. After last picking, remove the sticks along with roots. Bury remaining plant debris using furrow turning plough as sanitary measure. Before stacking bundles of sticks dislodge the burs and unopened bolls by beating them on ground or pluck them and burn them to kill larvae of boll worms. Two row tractor operated cotton stalk uprooter can be used for uprooting the stalks remained after harvest.
1.Punjab Agricultural University Ludhiana
2.Department of Agriculture
3.Indian Agricultural Research Instittute, New Delhi
4.Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research
5.Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare