Field weathering effects on stripper harvested cotton in the Texas High Plains



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Texas Tech University


Harvesting methodology is an important cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) production consideration in the Texas High Plains. Delayed harvest can result in yield and quality reductions of fiber and seed. Reductions in fiber quality can subsequently result in yarn and fabric defects. A comprehensive 3-yr project was conducted near Lubbock. The objectives of this project were to document the effects of harvest timing and field cleaning on (i) yield, (ii) fiber and seed quality, (iii) economics, and (iv) yarn and fabric quality. A field planted to'Paymaster 2326RR' was used, and treatments included harvest-aid chemical termination with varied harvest dates and two levels of field cleaning. A randomized complete block design with three replications and a split-plot arrangement of treatments was used with harvest dates as main plots and field cleaner vs. no field cleaner as sub plots. Lint yield was reduced with later harvest dates in one year and field cleaner reduced lint and seed yield in two years. High Volume Instrument (HVI) analyses indicated reductions in fiber quality when harvest was delayed. Most notably reduced were length, strength and color values. Field cleaning slightly improved micronaire and decreased strength in one year. Reflectance (Rd), yellowness (+b), and leaf grade tended to improve with field cleaner. Lint, gross, and net values ha&185;, were greater for early harvest dates in one year. Field cleaner reduced ginning costs in all years and seed value in one year. Also, a slight increase in net value ha-&185; was observed with field cleaner in one year. Delayed harvest tended to reduce seed germination percentages in two years and field cleaning had no effect on germination. Reductions in fiber quality resulted in yarn quality reductions, especially for ring spun yarn. Field cleaner did not adversely affect yarn or fabric quality. These data indicate that reductions in lint yield, fiber and seed quality, and economic returns, as well as reductions in yarn and fabric quality can occur if harvest is delayed. However, in some cases, use of a field cleaner may help reduce some losses in quality and improve overall net returns.