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Lesson Note

Subject: Agricultural Science
Topic: Production of Cotton (Gossypium spp)
Lesson Objectives: At the end of the lesson, learners should be able to:
i. Explain the production of cotton,
ii. Discuss the state involved in the production of cotton,
iii. State the different variants of cotton,
iv. State the differences between the various species or variants of cotton.

Lesson Discussions

Production of Cotton (Gossypium spp)

Cotton plant is a fibre belonging to the genus Gossypium of the hibiscus family.

Full Grown Cotton Plant

We have mostly two main species, viz
(a) Gossypium hirsutum
(b) Gossypium barbadense
In Nigeria, we have two main cultivars and these belong to these two species. For instance, “Samara 26” belongs to Gossypium hirsutum while “Ishan” belongs to Gossypium barbadense.

Origin: The widest species of cotton appear native to arid areas such as the Austrailia desert, deserts of South America and South East Asia and the arid region of North and South Africa.
Uses: Cotton is used in producing clothing materials, in making pillows, cushions etc. Cotton seed meal serves as a livestock feed while cotton seed oil is used for cooking.

Ecological Requirements: Cotton thrives best in very rich, deep loam or clay loam soil with 630 – 1800mm of annual rainfall which is evenly distributed. It also requires considerable sunshine and a relatively high temperature of between 21 – 26°C. Cotton is best grown under irrigation as this guarantees adequate moisture regime.

Land Preparation: Make flat topped ridges. The ridges are tied with cross-bars in alternate pattern at about 3.6m intervals. The seedbed should not be in depression to avoid waterlogging. The cultivation has to be deep to allow the tap root and the deep root system to penetrate without obstruction.

Planting: Cotton is seed propagated. Cotton seeds are sown between mid June and August and where insect pests are checked by spraying, early planting is preferred. Sow 4 – 6 seeds per hole at a depth of about 4cm. The seedlings are later thinned to two seedlings per stand at 4 weeks from sowing.

Spacing: The spacing of 30 – 40cm within rows and 90cm between ridges at time sowing is recommended. This gives an average seed rate of 11kg/ha.

Fertilizer Application: Cotton responds well to fertilizer application under optimum soil moisture and effective pest control. Sulphate of ammonia and super-phosphate are normally applied in a ring form of 8 – 10cm from the plant base either at sowing or just before sowing at the rate of 125kg/ha. Where there is potassium deficiency apply a mixture of 2:1:1 at the rate of 125 kg/ha.

Insecticidal Application: Cotton is highly prone to insect attack. Spray with insecticides such as six litres of “Didigram” or 1 – 2kg of Vetox 85 in 225 litres of water per hectare from the 9th week from sowing at weekly interval for six weeks.

Weeding: Cotton does not stand weed competition as well as waterlogging and moisture stress. Weeds should be removed as soon as they appear on the farm.

Harvesting: Cotton matures in 4 – 6 months after planting. The crop is matured and ready for harvest once the boils start to open. Picking of mature boils is done manually and in stages. All the boils that have no blemishes are harvested first. These are followed by the picking of boils with little blemishes. The ungraded boils which are harvested last heavy blemishes. After harvesting, the seed cotton are taken to the gin for the extraction of the lint. The lint is compacted into bales after extraction.

Storage: The lint is baled and kept in sacks.

Marketing: Cotton or cotton products are sold locally or are exported. In the marketing of cotton, the classification of the lint is on the basis of grades, staple length and character.

Some Products From Cotton: shutterstock.com

The grade is determined by the colour of the lint, the amount and nature of foreign matter and texture of the lint. Standard staple length ranges from 1.88 to 4.38cm with 2.19 cm (middling) as reference standard. The character of the lint is made up of the strength, fineness, maturity, density and uniformity of the fibre.
Pests: Cotton pests are cotton stainers, boll worms, mirids, aphids and jassids.

Diseases: Cotton is susceptible to fusarium wilt, bacterial blight, leaf spot, vertucillium wilt, boll rots, root galls, anthracnose and leaf curl.

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Take a quick test for this lesson

  1. Explain the production of cotton.
  2. Discuss the state involved in the production of cotton.
  3. State the different variants of cotton.
  4. What are the differences between the various species or variants of cotton?

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Image credit: shutterstock.com