The Development and Delivery of a Crop Monitoring Program for Upland and Pima Cotton in Arizona
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AbstractA crop monitoring program has been developed specifically for varieties and environmental conditions unique to Arizona. The monitoring program involves early season development guidelines, growth stage guidelines, and in- season evaluation of crop condition (vegetative /reproductive balance and fruit retention), by use of simple measurements such as height:node ratios (HNR), nodes above the top white bloom (NAWB) counts, and fruit retention estimates from plant mapping. The preliminary work necessary in terms of providing accurate and precise descriptions of the various crop development parameters has been provided through a detailed cotton phenology project conducted over many site years of experimental work. The resultant baselines describing crop development /monitoring parameters have been scaled as a function heat unit (HU, 86/55° F thresholds) accumulations. Application of these baselines have been developed through another facet of the research program to provide a basis for a feedback approach to crop management for inputs such as water, nitrogen (N), plant growth regulators, etc.. The crop monitoring program serves as a fundamental component to an active extension education program being delivered on a statewide basis to all cotton producing areas in Arizona.