Effect of Heat Unit Accumulation on Cotton Defoliation, Lint Yield and Fiber Quality
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AbstractThis study evaluated the effectiveness of defoliating at various heat unit accumulations: 630HU, 730 HU, 830 HU, 930 HU, 1030 HU, 1130 HU and 1330 HU and impact on lint yield and fiber quality. American Upland cotton variety DP 449 BR was planted on 12 April 2005 at the University of Arizona Maricopa Agriculture Center in Maricopa, Arizona. The experimental design was a split plot with four replications of each of seven defoliation timings. Final irrigation occurred on 05 August 2005. When heat unit accumulation reached 630 HU (on 20 August 2005), 730 HU (on 01 September 2005), 830 HU (on 04 September 2005), 930 HU (on 08 September 2005), 1030 HU (on 12 September 2005), 1130 HU (on 19 September 2005) and 1330 HU (on 27 September 2005) using the 86/55 F model chemical defoliants were applied. A mixture of Def (tribufos) at 24 oz/A, Dropp (thidiazuron) at 0.2 lb/A and Prep (ethephon) at 24 oz/A was applied using a high clearance research sprayer. The earliest treatments (630 and 730 HU accumulated) had significantly fewer open bolls at defoliation than those that received later treatments. At harvest, this trend disappears: the latest application (at 1330 HU) had significantly fewer open bolls than any other timing. Seven days after defoliant application (7 DAT), highest levels of defoliation were observed in the following treatments in descending order: 830 HU, 630 HU, 1130 HU, 930 HU and 730 HU followed by 1030 HU and 1330 HU. At harvest, there were no significant differences among mean defoliation percentages with the exception of the 1330 HU timing, which was significantly less defoliated than any of the other timings. Highest lint yield and gin turnout were observed in the earliest defoliation timings, lowest in the later timings. No significant differences in micronaire, length or uniformity were observed between defoliation timings. Differences did occur in fiber strength which was highest in earlier timings and lowest in the last timing, but all were above the discount level.