Related ATTRA Publication:
Organic Cotton Production
Research led by Texas Tech University and Texas A&M AgriLife showed how to grow cotton using less water, reports the American Society for Agronomy. The results of this study showed that less water early in the growing season makes plants smaller but has little effect on cotton yield, and doesn’t affect fiber quality. This runs counter to conventional wisdom that producers should irrigate early and often to bank water in the soil. However, this study found that in the middle of the season, irrigation rate had a big impact on yield. Late in the season, reduced irrigation caused a decrease in fiber quality. Researchers are continuing their work to find the best irrigation method for cotton that uses the least water.