Irrigation Scheduling Can Help Maximize Cotton Production
While it’s a drought tolerant crop, cotton will thrive if the correct amount of water is applied at the right time.
“Having an adequate supply of water is critical to establishing and maintaining high yield and quality potential,” said James Han, FieldNET Advisor solutions specialist at Lindsay Corporation. “Depending on climate and length of the total growing period, cotton needs 27 - 51 inches (700 - 1300 mm) to meet its water requirements.”
For cotton plants, water requirements vary with different growth stages.
- Emergence – adequate moisture at seeding enhances root development to establish healthy, uniform stands.
- Squaring – avoiding water-deficit stress beginning at first square is critical in developing adequate plant structure to facilitate yield goals.
- First white bloom – sufficient moisture before the first bloom provides water for pollination processes and should be at or near field capacity.
- Peak bloom – water use reaches a maximum during peak bloom. Frequent irrigation of small amounts of water has been shown to be effective.
- First pen boll – control of late season irrigation is essential. Irrigation should continue until 20 percent of bolls are open.
“Irrigation scheduling will ensure that the right amount of water is applied at the right time,” said Han. “Historically, growers have relied exclusively on visual inspections or complex calculations when making irrigation decisions – but, with FieldNET Advisor, they don’t have to do that anymore.”
Backed by 40 years of research, FieldNET Advisor® compiles all of the critical inputs related to soil water balance and delivers field-specific irrigation recommendations, so cotton growers know precisely when, where and how much to irrigate during every stage of growth.
“FieldNET Advisor does the work for you,” said Han. “It’s integrated into the powerful FieldNET® platform, so growers can put their irrigation plans into action with the touch of a button on a smartphone, tablet or computer – anytime, from anywhere.”
In addition to cotton, FieldNET Advisor can be used on 20 other crops around the world, including alfalfa, barley, corn, corn silage, dry edible beans, peanuts, popcorn, potatoes, sorghum, soybeans, sugarbeets, sweet corn, surgarcane, spring wheat and winter wheat.