Interaction of Pima Cotton Defoliation and Crop Water Stress Index
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AbstractA single field experiment was conducted in 1989 to evaluate the relationship of crop water status on Pima cotton defoliation by use of a crop water stress index (CWSI) as estimated by infrared thermometry. The entire study area was given the last irrigation uniformly on 24 August, and 20 row plots were outlined for the arrangement of three treatments in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Treatments consisted of making defoliant chemical application at three different targeted CWSI levels (0.40, 0.60, and 0.85). All defoliant treatments consisted of Dropp plus Accelerate (0.4 lb. and 1.5 pt. of material/acre, respectively) applied with a ground rig applicator. Results indicated no distinct advantage in terms of percent defoliation as a function of lower CWSI levels at which defoliants were applied. The defoliations made at 0.40 CWSI did result in more regrowth after 14 and 21 days. It appears from this test that Pima plants will defoliate satisfactorily with proper chemical treatments up to CWSI levels of 0.80. Further desiccation of the crop results in very erratic CWSI readings, resulting in difficulties in applying this technique to defoliation management. It does appear, though, that Pima cotton defoliation can be accomplished when CWSI readings are between 0.5 and 0.8 without substantial regrowth problems, providing precipitation or irrigation events do not occur.