Section 17
Chapter 16,681

Planting equipment and practices for cotton on the High Plains

Holekamp, E.R.; Hudspeth, E.B.; Colwick, R.F.; Ray, L.L.

Bull Texas Agric Expt Sta 992: 2-13


Accession: 016680674

Equipment development and planting practice tests for cotton were conducted on the High Plains over a 13-year period. Equipment studied included the planting row profile, seed-furrow openers, seed-firming wheel and covering devices. Planting practices, such as depth of lister furrow, depth of covering over seed, time of planting, rate of seed and type of seed, were studied. All studies were initially conducted on fine sandy loam soils; later equipment tests were made on loamy fine sand and on clay loam soils. Deep-furrow plantings slowed emergence and frequently resulted in thinner stands when precipitation occurred before and during the emergence period. The plateau-planter profile prevented the silting-over of the seed row by heavy washing rains, which was experienced frequently with lister-planter profiles. The use of the plateau planter reduced the necessity for replantings and gave the highest seedling emergence and best stands. Planting high on the bed gave the 2nd highest emergence and stands. A chisel-furrow opener, 3/4 inch wide and shielded adequately and shaped to drop the seed to the bottom of the seed furrow, gave excellent results on the 3 soil types. A modified stub runner worked equally well on clay loam soil. Poorer emergence was experienced with the conventional stub runner, and the wear on the knife edge was severe in sandy soils. The use of a 1 x 10-inch rubber-tired wheel to firm the seed into moist soil at the bottom of the seed furrow resulted in faster emergence and better stands under drying conditions. Small scrapers attached to the sides of the seed-firming wheel eliminated excessive buildup of sticky soil on the side of the wheel. Covering devices that place a 2-inch deep loose soil cover over the seed are recommended. Short fishtail drags attached at the seed-firming wheel axle were satisfactory in friable soils. A harrow-type device covered well, but caught crop residue, which interfered with proper covering. Delinted seed produced earlier emergence and better stands. Delinted seed also were easier to handle and meter, and they caused fewer stoppages in the seed tube and the narrow seed-furrow openers. Seeding rates of 20 lb. of chemically delinted seed/acre were adequate to give good emergence and stands for top yields, high harvesting efficiency and good weed control. A population of less than 20,000 plants/acre reduced yields and harvesting efficiencies. Yields decreased progressively as populations increased over 50,000 plants/acre. Cotton may be planted successfully after the minimum soil temperature at an 8-inch depth averages 60[degree]F or above for the 10 days preceding planting. Plantings after this temperature occurred had higher emergence percentage and a shorter emergence period. This guide permits plantings when favorable weather prevails earlier than is normally recommended by date alone.

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