High Density Planting System for High Cotton Yields

  • Desi cotton cultivarsare re-emerging aspotential alternative to obtain sustainable yieldsduring the era of climatic uncertainties. Seven cultivars were evaluated and the long-linted desi cotton cultivars,PA 528 and CNA I041 were identified to be the most productive. Planting under high density planting systems,was found to increase seed cotton yield by 275 kg/ha. Detopping along with side shoot removal and foliar application of mepiquatchloride (500mg/kg), was found to improve vigour index.
  • ICAR-CICR has standardized the technology for HDPS in which straight varieties of cotton are planted at 45 to 100 cm spacing between rows and 10 cm between plants. The technology is cost saving and yield enhancing (compared to hybrids) and also provides seed sovereignty to farmers. More than 5000 demonstrations of this technology were undertaken on farmers field during 2012-2015. The technology is now being independently demonstrated by the state governments in Maharashtra, Tamilnadu and Telengana. The technology has gained tremendous response in both irrigated (Punjab, Haryana, Tamilnadu) and rainfed (Maharashtra, Telangana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Orrisa) conditions and is emerging as an alternative to hybrid cotton.
  • The growing popularity of this technology has revived the seed chain of public sector. It is now proving to be an alternative to hybrids particularly on marginal soils and rainfed conditions. The popularization of PhuleDhanwantary suitable for surgical cotton production under HDPS has improved the profitablity of cotton farmers and has also revived the surgical cotton industry.
  • Despite wide variation in the behavior of monsoon across locations and years, high yields of 25 to 30 quintals per hectare of seed-cotton were obtained by several farmers. The cost of cultivation was Rs 20,000 to 25,000 per hectare. Net profit ranged from Rs 12,000 to 90,000 per hectare.

Conservation Agriculture

  • Soil compaction is increasingly being experienced due to excessive use of machinery to ensure timely operation but this leads to sub-soil compaction. Consequently, root and crop growth are adversely affected. Among the deep rooted rotation crops, pigeonpea had significantly greate ryield levels (35.3q/ha) followed by sunnhemp and sesbania(28to 29q/ha) with similar yield levels. Increase in bulk density beyond 1.6 g/cc resulted in a drastic reduction in root lengthof the Bt hybrid bu tthat of the varieties showed a decline beyond 1.7 g/cc.
  • Conservation agricultural(CA) practices are promoted as a solution to land degradation and improving productivity. CA system with 100% residue recycling had significantly higher CEY than Farmer's practice. CA system with100% residue recycling significantly reduced the soil penetration resistance upto 9" soil depth vis-a-vis Farmer's practice. Among cropping systems under CA, cotton-blackgram- maize is a potential candidate cropping system under the irrigated conditions as it registered significantly higher Cotton Equivalent Yield (CEY )than the conventional Cotton- fallow system.
  • Epigenetic regulating chemicals (ERC) treated Suraj and LRA 5166 cotton plants were screened for drought tolerance in the second generation. The plants were subjected todrought stressduring pin head stage of squaring by withholding irrigation for 10 days. 5-Azacytidine (10 mu M) and sulfamethazine (10 mu M) treated plants recorded high relative water content of 86.1% and 84.7%, respectively as against control(68.7%) under stress conditions in Suraj. Treated plants also had greater proline content, higher epicuticular wax content than the control plants that were not treated.

Nutrient and Weed Management

  • Calcareous soils suffer from multiple nutrient deficiencies and acute water stress. For such soils, application of S and Zn along with RDF improved productivity of Bt hybrids by 24% and the use efficiency of fertilizers by 15% when provided with two protective irrigations as compared to those not receiving irrigation. Desi cottons were also found to be a better alternative than the Upland cotton for the calcareous soils.
  • Nutrient Expert Decision Support System can be utilized to improve the productivity as well as bring about a saving in fertilizer. In a participatory trial,seed cotton yield was3051 kg/ha with the Nutrient Expert System compared to 2097 kg/ha with the farmers fertilizer practice.
  • Sulphur coated urea gypsum (5%) and neem cake coated urea improved the efficiency of applied nitrogen as compared to normal application of urea under irrigated condition, while for the rainfed conditions urea + FYM followed by neem cake treated urea were found to be efficient.
  • Supplementing half of the recommended dose of fertilizer N with FYM viz. N30 P30 K30 + 5t FYM/ha and N45 P45 K46 + 7.5 t FYM/ha significantly increased seed cotton yield over N60 P30 K30 and N90 P45 K45 besides improving the soil organic matter status in rainfed cotton varieties and hybrid respectively, grown in Vertisols.
  • Sulphur application @ 10 kg/ha significantly increased the seed cotton yield and dry matter production in LRA-5166 while in H4 (an intraspecific hybrid) a linear response upto 20 kg/ha was observed.  Cotton under rainfed conditions responded to annual phosphate application at 40 kg P205/ha placed at 7.5 cm depth in Vertisols.
  • Foliar application of 2 % urea or DAP at 60 and 80 DAS improved the seed cotton yield by 15% in cotton varieties and hybrids.
  • In the studies on long term effect of nutrient management, cotton - sorghum rotation out yielded cotton monocrop under rainfed conditions by 38%. G.arboreum out yielded G.hirsutum by 32-35%.
  • Alternate sprays of potassium @ 1 % and DAP @ 2% concentration (two to three sprays each at 15 days interval from first blooming) was beneficial for high yielding, high strength, and higher cotton counts.
  • Seed treatment with biofertilisers (Azotobacter chrococcum and Azospirillum brasiliense) with half the recommended nitrogen dose gave seed cotton yield more than the recommended dose of fertilizers.
  • Micro nutrient application @ 10 kg Zn. 10 kg Mn and 3 kg B/ha with 75 % soil and 25 % foliar spray) improved seed cotton yield by 25 % under two supplemental irrigations.
  • Nitrogen application in 3 splits half as basal, ¼  at 45 DAS and ¼ at boll development was beneficial for varieties as well as hybrids under rainfed conditions.
  • Application of Azotobacter, in combination with Azospirillum +PSB without organic manure and fertilizers has been found to result in a 25% saving of nitrogenous fertilizers without any reduction in yield.
  • Bio-inoculants tolerant against synthetic, and adverse climatic conditions were identified for use in cotton-wheat/soybean based cropping sysins with 11-15% improved yields.
  • Pink pigmented facultative methylotroph (PPFM) isolated from cotton phyllosphere has improved our index of cotton and helped in sulphur oxidation and P solubilization.
  • Herbigation- A smart approach for managing late emerging weeds (PI): use of pre emergence weedicide using drip lines as post emergence application (post emergence to cotton and pre emergence to weeds). Pre-emergence pendimethalin 1.0 kg on 3 DAS followed by hand removal of weeds on 30 DAS and applying metolachlor 1.0 kg as herbigation resulted up to 94% weed control efficiency. The herbicide rotation with herbicides of different mode of action is also desirable approach for delaying the development of resistance to weedicides.

Integrated nutrient management (INM)/package of practices

  • INM module inclusive of temperature tolerant PGPRs were tested under rainfed and irrigated conditions and were found to improve yields and reduced costs. Cotton+pigeonpea strip cropping recorded 15% improvement in yield with bin-fertilizers (Rhi, Azt, Asp., PSB) seed treatment. Supplemental irrigations (two) at flowering stage, improved yield by 25-35%.
  • In a typical mixed black clay loam and red loams soils of Coimbatore, combined application of FYM @ 5 t/ha at planting and sun hemp seeded @ 15 kg/ha in inter-rows of cotton as green manure (GM) in ridge-furrow planting, and buried at 45 days of planting (5.0 t/ha of biomass) produced highest seed cotton yield (1615 kg/ha - mean of 3 years) along with higher fibre production efficiency, net return and B: C ratio comparable to RDF over the years.
  • Ragi crop taken after cotton as a residual crop Produced an average yield of 36.8 q/ha although the highest yield of 39.2 q/ha was obtained with the combination of FYM, cotton stalks and GM.
  • Polyethylene mulching for enhancing cotton productivity in South zone
    A new cultivation technique for growing cotton under polyethylene mulching was standardized for cotton - zero tilled rotation Maize cropping system under irrigated condition at Coimbatore. Cotton crop responded upto 2.4 fold enhancement in seed cotton yield due to polyethylene mulching. In this method, evaporative loss of water is kept under minimum and thus a saving of 40% of irrigation water. The rotation maize after the harvest of cotton, yielded 2.87 fold (5t of additional grain yield) under polyethylene mulching technique.

Standardization of agronomic requirements for Bt hybrids

  • Optimum planting geometry for Bt cotton (RCH  - 2) at Coimbatore was 90 x 45 cm as against the spacing of 90 x 60 cm currently recommended for its cultivation in south zone.
  • Irrigation through drip at 0.8 Etc or through furrows at 0.6 IW/CPE improved seed cotton yields and water use efficiency at both Nagpur and Coimbatore. Under rainfed conditions, cotton + green gram inter cropping system (with recommended population of cotton) provided the highest cotton equivalent yield and water use efficiency.
  • For irrigated cotton at Sirsa and Coimbatore as well as rainfed cotton at Nagpur NPK rate of 90:45:45 was found to be optimum. While P and K need to be applied at sowing, N could be applied in 3-4 equal splits before 75-90 days after sowing.
  • To mitigate leaf reddening in Bt cotton apart from RDF @ 90: 45:45 kg NPK / ha, alternate sprays of 2 % urea and 2 % DAP alongwith 1 % MgSO4 during flowering to boll formation stages is recommended.
  • Foliar application of ethylene as Ethrel @ 5.7 mm at squaring stage altered the plant morphoframe, improved source : sink relationship and enhanced yield of Bt cotton. The dose could be enhanced to 8.6 mm under irrigated condition.
  • Significantly higher plant stand (up to 98 %) and yield /ha (30.35 q/ha) than normal sown crop (85% and 25.1 q/ha) through transplanting was recorded when the seedlings were raised in big containers and transplanted at 25 days seedling stage in North Zone.
  • The number of opened bolls/plant and seed cotton yield /ha  were significantly higher in the crop sprayed with 1500 ppm of defoliant (Ethrel) at 145 DAS than control unsprayed crop in North Zone.
  • In central India (Agro-eco sub region 10.2), irrigation through drip system @ 0.80 ETc produced the highest seed cotton yield in Bunny-Bt whereas the highest water use efficiency and water productivity was at 0.6 ETc.
  • Irrigation through drip at 0.8 Etc or through furrows at 0.6 IW/CPE improved seed cotton yields and water use efficiency in South Zone.
  • For irrigated cotton, NPK rate of 90:45:45 was found to be optimum in south zone. While P and K need to be applied at sowing, N could be applied in 3-4 equal splits before 75-90 days after sowing.
  • To mitigate leaf reddening in Bt cotton in South Zone apart from RDF @ 90: 45:45 kg NPK / ha, alternate sprays of 2% urea and 2% DAP alongwith 1% MgSO4 during flowering to boll formation stages is recommended.
  • Breaking of sub soil compaction by chisel ploughing and adoption of drip system for irrigation and fertigation (low cost drip system) combined with foliar application of poly feed (19:19:19) @ 1 % at 75 and 105 DAS and multi K (13:0:46) at 90 DAS registered higher seed cotton yield (2,732 kg/ha) with  ELS Bt hybrid in South Zone.
  • Stale seed bed technique of weed control for Bt Cotton based intercropping system : exhausting weed seed bank before the crop emergence by stale seed bed (SSBT) approach was standardized for Bt cotton based intercropping system. Stale seed Bed technique (SSBT) using a mixture of pendimethalin 1.0 kg + glyphosate 1.0 kg one week after irrigation (one week before sowing) recorded the highest weed control efficiency of 86.6% on 35- 45 DAS with the highest net return and B:C ratio . This method recorded the highest seed cotton equivalent yield (5682kg/ha) and was found economical than any other weed control practices.

Sustainability of cotton in problematic soils

  • On calcareous clay loam soils of Coimbatore (pH - 8.70) with medium fertility irrigated with poor quality water (EC of 3.52 dsm-1 and total salt concentration of 0.23 %), consistently higher yield (11.9 % increase over control) was realized by integrated nutrient management (INM) practices with 30:13:25 kg as N, P & K/ha and 5 t FYM/ha. INM out yielded other NPK combinations including RDF and suppressed the adverse effect of salinity. On sustainability front, both SYI (sustainability yield index) and PE (productivity efficiency) for cotton were significantly higher under the balanced nutrient supply.

Water Management

  • Ridge and furrow system : Out of the various moisture conservation practices, tested over the years in 40 farmers’ field on upper, middle, lower and bottom toposequences, moisture conservation practice of opening furrows in alternate rows across the slope was evaluated as the best system and effective in reducing runoff. increasing percolation, conserving water and improving the recharge capacity of irrigation wells.
  • Rain water management - watershed approach : About 4-5 lakh litres of excess run- off water can be harvested from one-hectare catchments area, which can be stored in field ponds of size 18x18x3 m. 0.7 to 1.0 ha area in medium deep and deep soils could be irrigated at early boll to peak development stage using harvested rainwater.
  • Recycling of harvested rain water : One irrigation at peak boll development stage was found economical. One protective irrigation to cotton @ 4 ha-cm of water maintained superiority over in-situ moisture conservation and enhanced seed cotton yield by more than one q/ha. 
  • Low cost drip irrigation system in cotton through use of microtubes and polytubes : Three years of testing and subsequent modification, two low cost drip systems (micro tube and poly tube drip systems) were developed for cotton successfully. In micro tube drip system, cotton is planted in paired rows (60/120 cm) and single lateral (LLDPE) is placed in the middle of the two paired row (60/120-60/120). Micro-tubes are connected to the laterals to deliver water on either side of the pair to supply water for two plants. Polytube drip system, polytubes (150 gauge thickness) punctured at regular intervals (60 cm) on single side, tied by waste cloth to avoid jet action, are placed in between the paired row/single row. Microtubes and poly tubes drip systems are 49 and 73 per cent cheaper respectively as compared to the existing drip system. Water saving to the tune of 44 per cent and cotton yield advantage to an extent of 15% could be achieved following adoption of low cost drip system.

Cropping System

  • Multi-tier cropping system- A fine-tuned technology for sustainability and enhanced profitability to farmers in south zone : Short duration vegetables like coriander, radish and beet root provide a suitable multi-tier combination along with cotton. Bt cotton hybrid was planted at spacing of 120 x 60 cm. Two ridges at 60 cm apart are formed making 120 cm. Cotton, radish, beet root and coriander are planted on 4 sides of the 2 ridges in sequence. Periodic harvest of intercrops (Coriander at 35 DAS, Radish at 45 DAS and Beet root at 75 DAS) resulted in less competition within the component of multi-tier crops leading to cotton yield equal to that noticed in sole cotton. Per hectare gross return of Rs. 1,32,265, net return of Rs. 90,335, B: C ratio of 3.2 , land equivalent ratio of 1.7, diversity index of 3.5 and per day return of Rs 602 were realized with MULTI-TIER system involving radish, beet root, coriander with cotton. Sole cotton registered the gross return of Rs 53,320/ha, net return of Rs, 24,282/ha and per day return of Rs 162. The newer developed cotton based multi-tier system (cotton+ radish+ beet root+ coriander) has been demonstrated successfully both at Research Station trials and farmers’ fields.
  • Efficient cotton based cropping systems : Green gram, black gram and soybean were identified as suitable intercrops for varietries grown in wider spacing (90 cm) and hybrids. Of the several soybean genotypes,five were identified compatible for intercropping with cotton Punjab 1, TAS 40, Pusa 16, PK 472 and PKV 1.
    Cotton intercropped with cowpea harbours more of coccinellids and in addition to higher parasitization. Intercropping of greengram with cotton enhanced maximum WUE of cotton by 2.46 kg ha-1     mm-1, while blackgram (240 kg ha-1 mm-1) and the minimum (2.01 kg ha -1 mm-1) under control. Similarly, two irrigations, first at flowering and second at boll development stage has given maximum (3.20 kg ha-1mm-1), WUE closely followed by (3.11 kg ha-1 mm-1) one irrigation at peak boll development stage and the minimum (2.20 kg ha-1mm-1) under control.
  • Maize, when grown as a rotation crop after cotton in the same polymulch sheet with jowar (Sorghum bicolor) for both grain and fodder has substantial benefits in terms of quantity and quality of outputs besides improvement of soils. 
  • Cowpea and small onion were found to be best suited to intercropping. The highest seed cotton yield (14.2 q/ ha) and the maximum gross return (Rs, 23445/ ha) was obtained with intercropping of one row black gram between cotton rows which was closely followed by cotton + green gram intercropping system (14.2 q/ ha) and cotton + soy bean system (13.9 q/ha) under rainfed condition.

Tillage and residue management

  • Reduced tillage system comprising pre-plant herbicide application and one pass of harrow and two inter-row cultivation for early and late season weed control, respectively, was found to be a viable technology to cotton growers of Central India.
  • Deep ploughing once in two years before cotton sowing was found effective in increasing the yield of irrigated cotton - wheat system.
  •  Conventional tillage (one time disc + two time cultivator) for irrigated wheat was found beneficial in increasing the yield of irrigated cotton - wheat system. Cotton stalk and wheat straw shredded and incorporated in the soil after crop harvest was found  helpful in improving soil fertility and yield of cotton-wheat system under irrigated conditions.
  • Soil depth for rainfed cotton in central zone : Soil depth plays an important role in yield maximization of rainfed cotton. Seed cotton yield  was increased with increasing soil depth. Maximum seed cotton yield has been recorded  in deep (> 90 cm) soils and the minimum in shallow (>45cm) soils. However, the optimum soil depth for ratified cotton cultivation was evaluated in between 67 to 110 cm soil depth.
  • Deep ploughing once in two years before cotton sowing was found effective in increasing the yield of irrigated cotton by 6-7 q ha-1 over control. The incorporation of cotton stalk and wheat residue in the soil enhanced seed cotton yield by about 5 q ha-1 and wheat yield by 10-15 q ha-1 over control respectively.

Organic cotton production

  • Technology for organic cotton production using organic soil amendments and biocontrol based pest management with the following key inputs was developed.
    Sr. No. Organic soil amendments Bio-control based pest management
    1 Farm yard manure @ 5 t/ha Release of Chrysoperla sp @ 500- 1000/ha 20-25 DAS and at 35 DAS.
    2 In-situ green manure with fodder cowpea at 40 DAS Release of Trichogramma @ 5 cards/ha at 45 DAS.
    3 Spreading toppings from Sesbania spp. obtained from 2m dense rows after 10 cotton rows. Spray of H-NPV @ 250 LE for young bollworms of H. armigera
    4 Vermicompost prepared from farm waste including cotton stalks and weeds @ 2 t/ha Alternate spray with Bt formulation 1.5 l/ha.
    5 Seed inoculation of Azotobacter @ 500 g/ha seed. Release of Bracon hebator to kill bollworm larvae. Bird perches @ 4/ha.

Physiological Studies

  • Hydroponics: a tool to study Nutritional Deficiencies in Cotton: The term hydroponics was coined by William Frederick Gericke of the University of California at Berkeley for the culture of plants in water and defined hydroponics as plant growth in mineral nutrient solutions. There are two main types of solution culture, static and continuous-flow solutions methods. In the present study, we have used static solution culture to study the nutritional deficiencies due to essential and major nutrients viz. Nitrogen, Potassium, Magnesium and Calcium. The germinated cotton seedlings were grown in Hoagland’s solution without the element of interest from germination till harvest. In deficiency cultures, the total quantity of applied salts were kept as near as possible to that in the complete solution. The pH and buffer capacity of culture solutions were also kept uniform. If one element is omitted from the solution (as a cat ion or anion) the corresponding element or moiety in the salt was supplied in the form of another salt (e.g. Cl replaces NO3 if KCl is used in place of KNO3; the K+ concentration, however, remains the same). The deficiency symptoms were visible within seven days of culture. The pots were continuously aerated and also replenished with nutrient solution regularly.


    The following nutritional deficiencies symptoms were observed on cotton plant:
    Nitrogen deficiency: General Chlorosis, Chlorosis progresses from light green to yellow, Entire plant becomes yellow under prolonged stress, Growth is immediately restricted and plants soon become spindly and drop older leaves. Potassium Deficiency: Leaf margins tanned, scorched, or have necrotic spots (may be small black spots which later coalesce), Margins become brown and cup downward, Growth is restricted and die back may occur, Mild symptoms appear first on recently matured leaves. Calcium Deficiency: Growing points usually damaged or dead (die back), Margins of leaves developing from the growing point are first to turn brown, Marginal chlorosis or chlorotic blotches which later merge. Magnesium Deficiency: Leaves show yellow chloroticinterveinal tissue on some species, Reddish purple progressing to necrosis on others, Younger leaves affected with continued stress, Symptoms usually occur late in the growing season.
  • Predicting cotton production using INFOCROP-cotton simulation model, remote sensing and spatial agro-climatic data : Infocrop-cotton, a generic model was calibrated and later validated. The model gives good predictive capability for cotton phenology, leaf area, biomass, seed cotton yield, boll number and boll weight uncle diverse growing conditions (dry land and irrigated), cultivars (varieties and hybrids) and management conditions(date of sowing, fertilizer levels, irrigation). The Infocrop-cotton model was used in conjunction with geoinformatics technique namely remote sensing (RS) and GIS for developing an integrated approach to predict cotton production at district level. This methodology was validated for Nagpur, Bharuch, Sirsa and Dharwar districts. The results obtained by the integrated approach are quite encouraging for cotton production forecasting.
Abiotic Stress Management
  • Drought tolerance : The drought tolerance in Asiatic cotton was found to be associated with deep root system, higher root/shoot ratio and leaf transpirational cooling, whereas in American cotton enhanced leaf water status due to higher stomatal resistance led to dehydration avoidance. Tolerant genotypes possessed higher antioxidant enzymes viz. catalase and peroxides. Application of pix (25 or 50 ppm) at floral initiation stage and Kaolin (12%) one month after cessation of rains was found to enhance the water use efficiency.
  • Salinity tolerance : Most of the cotton cultivars and germplasm lines could with stand salinity levels of 7 to 8 ds/m without significant reduction in growth and yield. Asiatic cotton show better tolerance to salinity compared to upland cotton. The leaf area expansion is more sensitive to salinity compared to photosynthesis. Tolerant genotypes could maintain cellular osmotic potential by accumulation of osmolytes such as proline and k+. They had higher K/Na ratio in roots and leaves.
  • Water logging tolerance : Cotton is very sensitive to water logging at early seedling and squaring stages with drastic yield reduction. As a morphological adaptation, plants produce specialized cells known as hypertrophoid lenticels at the zone of submergence, which facilitates the transfer of O2 from shoot to root to maintain root activity. At the metabolic level tolerant genotypes possessed higher Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) enzyme activity. Response of plants to water logging was again found to be genotype x environment specific. Genotypes with large canopy and heavy boll load show wilting known as parawilt under bright light and high temperature.
  • Source sink alteration to improve physiological efficiency and productivity in cotton : Irrespective of the concentration, ethrel application at 40 DAS brought about shedding of already produce squares, change in the plant biology leading to robust plant growth, significant change in the biochemical constituents with increase in NR activity, enhanced accumulation of reducing sugars, proline and protein, synchronous flowering and boll development and uniform boll bursting. Application of ethrel @ 30-45 ppm out-yielded the control by 15-20%.
    Maleic hydrazide at 500 and 1000 ppm induced the axillary buds to sprout and break the apical dominance. The morpho-frame was altered with short stature, bushy growth. The yield enhanced by 30% with large number of small bolls.
  • Leaf reddening in cotton: Leaf reddening symptoms was comparatively less under irrigated than moisture stress condition, irrespective of treatments both at 120 days after sowing and at harvest. Among the treatments, nutrient consortia showed a distinct differences in maintaining the greenness of the leaves upto harvest followed by Panchakavya and DAP (1%) + KCl (0.5%). In control plants, 70-75 % leaf reddening was recorded where as in treatments like nutrient consortia spray leaf reddening symptoms was to the extent of 30-35%.
  • Nutrient consortia spray (DAP 1% , KCl 0.5%, MgSo4 0.5%, FeSo4 0.25%, ZnSo4 0.25% + Micronutrients delayed leaf reddening, reduced bud and boll shedding and increased yield of cotton both under irrigated and moisture stress condition.
  • Gossypol content studies : Wide variability in gossypol content in seed and other plant parts was noticed in about 300 working collections of cotton germplasm lines. Database for seed gossypol content has been established tii approximately 500 germplasm lines which include the working collections and other genotypes of G. hirsutum, G.arboreum and G. herbaceum and also wild species. Wide variability have been observed and the germplasm lines have been categorized as low, (0-0.5%) medium (0.5-10%), high (1.0-1.5%) and very high (>1.5%) gossypol content lines.
  • Photosynthetic efficiency: Asiatic cottons showed a better stability in their photosynthetic efficiency under adverse growing conditions. At flowering and early boll development stages transgenic cotton has higher stomatal conductance, photosynthesis and transpiration compared to non-transgenic counterparts.
  • Studies on Co2 enrichment: Cotton plants grown under elevated carbon dioxide level of 650 ppm and temperature of 40 degree centigrade was found optimum for photosynthetic and nitrate reductase activities of the plant leading to improved productivity.
  • Fatty acid profile of cotton seed oil : In order to determine the nutritional value of cotton seed oil, the essential fatty acids profile was estimated and the range observed is as follows :  
    Fatty acid Range (%)
    Saturated Palmitic 16-26
    Stearic 1-4
    Unsaturated Linoleic 41-58
    Oleic 16-28
  • The following lines containing high linoleic acid (>50%) were identified which offer potential in improving cotton seed oil quality. Fatty acid profile with special emphasis on unsaturated fatty acids like oleic and linoleic acids has been documented in nearly 600 germplasm lines.
G. hirsutum G. arboreum
Devraj (52.6) AC 40 (54.8)
CH 900 (52.1) AKH 235 (58.1)
B-56-181 (54.9) Cocanadas WH (56.8)
MA-7  (54.1) Malsoni (54.6)
UPA 5717  (55.4) Malvi 20 (58.3)
6088 ( 56.4)



Clarksville (57.9)



OCI 122 (55.5)



B.Cot 100 (57.3)



IC-81 (58.6)




Economic Studies

  • The major risk aversion tendencies observed were varietal combination, use of F2 seeds, use of less than recommended dose of fertilizers, more than recommended number of sprays, resort to natural farming and institutional credit shyness.
  • Yield gap models showed that plant density gap in hybrid and soil dummy in variety were the major significant variables responsible for the yield gap while nutrient gaps is common to both.
  • Instability in yield was found to increase simultaneously particularly during the post hybrids        phase mainly because of hybrids calling for intensive crop management being cultivated under all situations particularly resource poor conditions leading to violent fluctuations during adverse years and thereby affecting the average performance.
  • The major constraints reported were the incidence of pests especially bollworm (62 %), poor quality/ineffective chemicals (51%), non availability of canal water on time (48%), non-availability of power supply (48%), tied up credit (39% ), non- availability of quality seed (37%), use of non-notified varieties (41% ) improper use of chemicals mixing/cocktailing chemicals on own or at the advice of the dealers (35%) loss due to leaf curl virus (12%).
  • Bt cotton has recorded significant increase in yield (2-5 q/ha), savings in plant protection expenses (Rs.1600 - Rs.4000/ha), additional returns (Rs.2800 -15000 /.ha). The awareness and adoption level has increased with seasons.
  • Historical data collected from 40 organic cultivators revealed that organic cotton production is a mode or risk aversion, cost reduction motivated by premium prices and cash payment. Though the yield after stabilization period was only 5.63 q/ha against the 7.14 q/ha in synthetic farming, the loss was more than compensated by the price premium of Rs. 230-700/q and cost reduction of Rs.1900/ha. Further, the yield and price stability were high among organic farms. It has to be localized and cannot be a substitute for intensive farming.
  • Commodity diversion model results indicated that delay in cash payment and improper grading were the inducing factors for cotton diversion from the monopoly procurement than price difference and avoidance of credit recovery.
  • Criteria for research problem selection among cotton scientists in India were studied and it was found that priority of the organization set by various mechanisms has emerged as the most important criteria followed by foreign collaborations, feedback from clients, current hot topics, contribution to scientific theory and publication probability.
  • High degree of alienation from land was observed among cotton growers and perceived quality of life has become somewhat worse for majority of cotton growers.
  • Current financial condition of a family has become a serious problem for more than half of the cotton growers and seventy per cent of cotton growers are very concerned about returning the loan they have taken for agriculture.
  • A major portion of variance in technology adoption behavior of cotton growers related to adoption of hybrid cotton is explained by the Model, which includes variables like spatial distribution, availability of the technology, marketing strategy, pricing, and promotional communication.
  • CICR has recently established a ‘voice-mail’ weekly advisory system called 'e-kapas' network to connect 100,000 farmers for technology dissemination and backstopping. Advisories and alert services are being issued to the registered cotton growers in 8 local languages so as to enable them initiate proactive measures.


  • Small cotton harvester designed and a prototype was developed. The prototype was modified to further reduce trash content in machine harvested cotton.
    Specifications CICR Harvester Imported Pickers
    Expected Cost Rs 4.0 lakhs Rs 25.0 lakhs
    Time taken 4.20 hrs per ha 4.0 hrs per ha
    Cost of picking Rs 1.2 per kg Rs 7.0 per kg
    Cost of picking Rs 2400 per ha Rs 14000 per ha
  • Tractor Mounted Cotton Harvester: A prototype of small scale tractor mounted Brush type harvester has been developed in PPP mode by ICAR-CICR with Mahindra and Mahindra & ICAR-CIRCOT. This harvester is suitable for varieties as well as hybrids. The prototype is being modified after field trials to improve picking efficiency.
  • Development of machineries suited to small scale cotton production for increased resource use efficiency : A two row bullock drawn precision cotton planter with vertical rotor seeding mechanism has been developed. An improvement over the earlier cup feed type planter developed in the institute, it ensures timely sowing of cotton with no leaf over cotton seeds in the hopper precise metering and placement of single seed per hill without damage to the seeds. It is also easy to handle, operate and maintain.
  • Cotton planter: A small sized manually operated cotton planter was developed for planting cotton seed and an adjustable cultivator was designed and developed for intercultural operation for narrow spaced cotton crop and a fertilizer applicator has been modified for equal distribution of fertilizer from both tubes.  Field efficiency of manually operated small hand picker varied from 56 % to 100 % of the manual.
  • Herbicide wick applicator : A Wick Applicator was developed to smear the weeds with herbicide solution in between the rows of cotton plants.  This was specially developed for HDPS. The Wick Applicator was tested in the laboratory and calibrated in field. The field capacity of wick applicator was found to be 100 l/ha to 550 l/ha, which could be changed depending upon the density and age of weeds.
  • Improved: Bullock drawn implements were developed for increased efficiency for the small and marginal cotton farmers. These implements also have a longer life compared to the traditional wooden implements.
  • Ridge: For making ridges in between the rows of cotton which will help in moisture conservation of soil and will also act as a channel for irrigation. It can also create ridges and furrows before sowing.
  • Iron plough with sowing attachment: For primary tillage operation of ploughing and sowing of rabi crops like gram.
  • Adjustable hoe: Bullock operated hoe for interculture operation in cotton cropping system. Various sizes of blades (9”, 12” & 18”) can be accommodated in a frame, with quick coupling and decoupling.
  • Bund former: This equipment can be used for making bunds in the fields to facilitate easy surface irrigation.
  • Battery operated sprayer : A knapsack battery operated sprayer using a 12 volt DC rechargeable battery and motor to generate the pressure for automization of spray fluid through nozzles has been developed using a smaller tank to reduce the drudgery of the operator while spraying and also to generate uniform spray droplets by generating constant pressure using a pressure switch.
  • A novel solar operated knapsack sprayer : A novel solar operated knapsack sprayer (figure) was developed tested and modified which has a field capacity of 4 hrs/ha. The weight of the sprayer without pesticide is 9 kg, with a swath of 90 cm giving 20 sprays with single charge.

Cotton Informatics

  • Decision Support System for Cotton Cultivar selection: Developed decision support system for cotton cultivar selection - the tool aids the decision makers to identify ideal cultivar for varied agro-climatic condition or demand. The system also aids the decision makers to identify micro level suitability of cotton cultivar based on key agro-ecological parameters.
  • INDIAN COTTON PORTAL: CICR has four websites; they are www.cicr.org.in, www.aiccip.cicr.org.in, www.tmc.cicr.org.in and www.kvknagpur.org.in. The websites has wide range of information for different stakeholder including policy makers, students, general public, farmers etc. The websites has been periodically updated with latest information and removed obsolete information. In the recent years most of the institute publications are made paperless and published in softcopy version in the portal.
  • GROW GOOD COTTON – a mobile application for cotton pest management: A mobile application called “Grow Good Cotton” for cotton pest management has been developed. The application include general description of each of the cotton pests including classification of the pest, identification of the pest, symptoms of damage, life history; Management option include chemical, biological and cultural and mechanical control; ETL check, recommended chemicals and brands with approximate price in the market; chemical application methods. The application incorporated with audio module in order to break the literacy barriers. The application is developed in English and to be converted in eight other Indian languages.
  • Nitrogen Guru : ICAR- Central Institute of Cotton Research, Nagpur, has developed a device to detect nitrogen (N) deficiency in cotton and recommend ameliorative measures in the form of voice advisory both in English and vernacular language  to the farmers. The gadget works based on the principle of transmittance of light by leaves. It detects the deficiency based on red, green, blue, hue, saturation and luminosity values of the leaf colour.
  • Android based mobile app “Cotton Doctor” has been developed under the project “Development of Interactive Decision Support Systems for Cotton Pest Management with Pre Recorded Voice Modules”. It is a user friendly software tool developed to support the cotton stakeholders in cotton insect management. It covers A to Z about cotton insect management. Once you download the app, it can be referred at any time in offline as well. The size of the app is around 20 MB that makes the users to download it in no time. The targeted users are not only the farmers but also students, researchers, state department personnel, extension functionaries, KVK personnel, policy makers etc.,
  • Cotton Database: Developed Cotton Information Retrieval System with 25 time series data and some of the data sets starting from 1947. The stand alone information retrieval system was developed in the year 2008-09 and same has been converted in to web enabled information retrieval system which was floated at our CICR portal.


Information compiled, Page designed and developed by Dr. M. Sabesh, Sr. Scientist, CICR
Page created in 2002; Last updated on 08:02:2020