Agronomic and Economic Evaluation of Ultra Narrow Row Cotton Production in Arizona 1999-2000
AffiliationUniversity of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Tucson, AZ
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AbstractUltra Narrow Row (UNR) and conventional (CNV) cotton production systems were compared with respect to agronomic practices, yield, fiber quality, and production costs in experiments conducted in 1999 and 2000 in central Arizona. Cotton rows were 10 and 40 inches apart in the UNR and CNV systems, respectively. In 1999, the average lint yield in the UNR system, 1334 lb/A, was significantly greater than the 1213 lb/A yield of the CNV system. Similar results were obtained in 2000 with yields of 1472 and 1439 lb/A for the UNR and CNV systems, respectively. Fiber grades of both systems were comparable with most bales receiving a grade of 21 in 1999. The average bale grades in 2000 were 11 and 21 in the UNR and CNV systems, respectively. The quality of the fiber produced in both systems was also comparable with staple and strength measurements meeting base standards in both years. However, there was a consistent difference between the UNR and CNV systems in both years with respect to micronaire. Micronaire averaged 4.5 and 4.0 in the UNR system in 1999 and 2000, respectively, and 5.0 and 4.9 in the CNV system in 1999 and 2000, respectively. Variable growing costs were $607 and $446 for the UNR system in 1999 and 2000, respectively, and $660 and $519 for the CNV system in 1999 and 2000, respectively. Harvest and post-harvest variable costs were $234 and $209 in the UNR system in 1999 and 2000, respectively, and $217 and $224 in the CNV system in 1999 and 2000, respectively. The economic data indicated that the UNR system reduced production costs and increased profitability without sacrificing lint yield or quality. However, these experiments also indicated that many production challenges such as planting and obtaining adequate plant populations, managing plant height control, and weed control need further study.