Central Institute for Cotton Research

CICR in Gist

Varieties developed and released for commercial cultivation:

ICAR-CICR has developed and released many improved varieties (Bt and non-Bt) and hybrids of cotton with fiber quality matching industrial requirements. Since its inception, ICAR-CICR has developed and released 43 improved non-Bt cultivars of cotton for different zones of the country. These include 23 varieties of Gossypium hirsutum including one colored cotton variety, six varieties of G. arboreum, 3 varieties of G. barbadense, eight intra-hirsutum hybrids, and two interspecific hybrids (G. hirsutum x G. barbadense) and one intra-arboreum hybrid resistant to biotic and abiotic stresses with improved fiber qualities. The performance of these varieties/hybrids has been demonstrated on farmer’s fields in the respective areas of adaptability. During the last three years, the institute has also released and notified 11 Bt cotton varieties viz., ICAR-CICR Bt6 (RS2013), ICAR-CICR Bt 14 (CPT2), ICAR-CICR Bt 9 (SRI1), ICAR-CICR GJHV 374 Bt, ICAR-CICR PKV 081 Bt, ICAR-CICR Rajat Bt, ICAR-CICR Suraj Bt, ICAR-CICR 16 Bt, ICAR-CICR 23 Bt, ICAR-CICR 21 Bt and ICAR-CICR 25 Bt. These have been identified for commercial cultivation in Central as well as South Zone states. In addition to imparting resistance against Helicoverpa armigera, the seeds of these varieties are cheaper unlike costly F1 hybrids and farmers can reuse the seed over seasons.

A detailed list of Varieties and hybrids released by CICR (link to varieties and hybrids) Cotton Germplasm Resources:

ICAR-CICR, Nagpur maintains one of the largest cotton gene bank, a germplasm collection in the world with 12,336 accessions of the cultivated and wild species of Gossypium species including perennials, landraces, and inter-specific derivatives.

Species Number of accessions
G.hirsutum 8851
G.barbadense 536
G.arboreum 2053
G.herbaceum 565
Wild Species 25
Interspecific Derivaties 40
Perennials and Land Races 254
Races and derivatives of all four cultivated species 12
Total Collections 12336
Unique germplasm lines registered with NBPGR:

Forty-nine (49) genetic stocks of G. hirsutum and G. arboreum have been registered for their unique, novel, and distinct characteristics. These would serve to generate important cotton genotypes with economically important traits and unique morphological markers. Following are the genetic stocks registered after 2010:

Development of ‘Mini-core collection’ in upland cotton:

Mini-core collection is being developed using 780 core collection accessions of upland cotton germplasm maintained at ICAR-CICR. Morphological (qualitative and quantitative characters) and molecular characterization (using 52 polymorphic Markers covering all 26 chromosomes of the genome) of 780G. hirsutum core collection has been completed.

Conservation of traditional landraces:

Two hundred and fifty-four cotton germplasm including 177 perennials, 44 landraces, and 33 traditional cultivars belonging to G. arboreum, G. herbaceum, and G. barbadense were collected from different states of India viz., Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Manipur, Meghalaya and Mizoram (North-Eastern Hill region), Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh (Central India), Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka (South India). The important landraces Karunganni cotton (G. arboreum race ‘Indicum’), Ponduru Cotton (G. arboreum race ‘Indicum’), Mathieu (G. arboreum race ‘Indicum’) and Comilla (G. arboreum race cernuum) were collected. All the collected germplasm variants were established in the field conditions and the seeds were stored for conservation in the medium-term cold storage.

Genetic Enhancement in upland cotton

Few of the economic traits of elite varieties were improved following genetic enhancement procedures and repeated backcrossing. Genotypes were improved for Boll weight and Ginning percent. Besides, several early maturing and sucking pest tolerant lines have also been developed. Molecular marker for DNA Fingerprinting: A set of highly polymorphic SSR markers have been identified and DNA fingerprint of ICAR-CICR cotton varieties has been developed. Combining molecular profiles with morphological profiles helps in the development of unique barcodes for each variety which can be useful in varietal protection.

Seed Production

ICAR-CICR is taking up quality seed production of varieties developed by the Institute under the Mega Seed Project as well as the National Seed Project. In addition to breeder seed production of notified Bt and non-Bt cotton varieties, their truthfully labelled seeds are also being produced in a large scale to meet the requirement of FLD, organic sector, etc.

The quality seeds produced (in quintals) at ICAR-CICR during last five years:
Seed Materials 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21
Non-Bt cotton varieties
Breeder Seeds (14 Varieties 6.26 12.26 7.50 12.68 12.38
Truthfully labelled (TFL) seeds 20.51 6.68 6.90 6.67 1.00
Bt Cotton varieties
Nucleus Seeds 1.73 4.00 6.16
Truthfully labelled (TFL) seeds 37.60 5.87 6.90
Certified Seeds of other Crops
Red gram, gram, wheat and barley 219.70 275.34 259.20 136.00 278.70
Paper tube Nursery technique

Cotton transplanting Paper tube with size of 1 cm diameter and height of 20 cm were filled with equal portion of vermi compost, sand and soil and packed gently. Compactness of packing should be ensured in every tube for proper germination. Healthy single seed was dibbled in each tube and water was applied from the top. Seedling at the age of 20 days were transplanted in hole made by crow bar and pressed gently to avoid air pockets and irrigated immediately

Conservation Agriculture: Cropping systems

Bed and furrow planting system was identified for raising cotton and component crops with minimum tillage and residue recycling. Cotton – black gram – maize produced higher cotton equivalent yield than the conventional cotton – fallow system under conservation agricultural practices in irrigated conditions. Soil penetration resistance was reduced up to 9” soil depth with residue recycling compared to the Farmer’s practice.

Intercropping systems

Intercrops lend stability to the cropping systems and reduce risks. Under rainfed conditions, several intercrops were evaluated, of which, blackgram, greengram, soybean, cowpea and cluster bean were found to be suitable options. On a long-term basis, cultivation of legume intercrops reduced dependency on fertilizer-N. This was very much evident with the high biomass producing crop such as Desmanthes under irrigated conditions. Cotton + Desmanthes grown in alleys of the cotton rows significantly improved soil organic C and Seed cotton yields.

Nutrient management

Significant response to application of fertilizer nutrients resulted in a mad rush to apply more of the fertilizers to realize higher seed cotton yields. Fertilizer use more than doubled in a decade from <100 kg per ha 2002) to >200 kg per ha (2015). But such high application rates lead to an increased risk of nutrient losses, higher cost of cultivation. Growing concerns relating to land degradation, and threat of environmental pollution from inappropriate use of inorganic fertilizers, lead to development of integrated nutrient management (INM) techniques. INM relies on crop residue-based organic manures. Crop residues are usually considered as waste materials and disposed of by burning. Bioconversion of cotton stalks into bio-enriched compost can bring down the dependency on inorganic fertilizers for sustainable cotton production apart from safe disposal of cotton wastes. This bio-enriched compost improves soil nutrient status, especially the soil organic matter and seed-cotton yields. Poor soil fertility is a major production constraint in rainfed calcareous soils. Seed treatment with humic acid (2 mg/kg) and soil application of 125% recommended dose of fertilizer with four splits of nitrogen, two splits of phosphorus and potassium and soil application of Zinc Sulphate (ZnSO4) with 10 kg per ha, Borax at 5 kg ha-1 and 0.5% chelated micronutrients at squaring stage and combined with erection of ridges and furrows at 45 days after sowing.

Nutrient Expert System

Nutrient Expert fertilizer decision support system was developed and validated for hybrid cotton. The tool, developed on the principles of site-specific nutrient management offers better nutrient stewardship for hybrid cotton and their prescriptions to farmers aimed at bridging the yield gaps and improved use efficiency.

Weed management

Weeds can reduce crop yields and cause loss to an extent of 25% because of their fast growing nature as compared to the cotton plants. Therefore, innovative and sustainable weed control measures that can be implemented to reduce weed pressure will help safeguard the productivity of agriculture. Allelopathy as an alternative weeds management strategy Timely weed management is difficult for cotton grown on the rainfed Vertisols because the soil becomes sticky and wet immediately after rains. Cover crops that produce allelochemicals are a possible option to reduce weed density during the crop growing season. It offers an added advantage in terms of additional soil moisture conserved. Effective cover crops are sunnhemp, sorghum, forage cowpea, thornless Mimosa, and Desmanthes.

Low-cost drip system for Water management

The low-cost drip system, polytubes (150 micron) were used instead of LLDPE lateral. The polytubes were punctured at single side at regular intervals (60 cm) and placed within the pair (60 cm) of paired rows planted cotton (120-60 cm). Low-cost drip systems produced yields equivalent to existing drip system. The cost of polytube drip system is 58% less than existing drip system.

ICAR-CICR Weekly Advisories on cotton

CICR releases weekly advisories in English and 8 Indian languages every Wednesday on the institute web page http://www.cicr.org.in/weekly_advisory.htm. These advisories are also sent every week to the Directorate of cotton development, State Department officials, and all KVKs of cotton-growing states all through the year. Pest and disease alerts are being sent every week to the ADG (PP), ICAR by CICR scientists. During the crop, the season institute publishes weekly cotton advisories in Marathi in the Agrowon newspaper for farmers of Maharashtra state. e- Communication: dissemination of cotton production technology Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based e- Kapas improved the knowledge and skills of cotton farmers. Every More than six million recorded voice messages were uploaded in the form of automatic phone calls to nearly 1.4 lakh registered cotton farmers. Advisory services played a crucial role in promoting cotton production, protection technologies, increasing productivity, and improving rural livelihoods.

Cotton APP

A to Z of cotton information on cotton is available on the Cotton App developed for Android mobile. Information on cotton sowing, choice of varieties and hybrids, cultivation and management practices (protection and production technologies)

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 website has a wide range of information for different stakeholders including policymakers, students, the general public, farmers, etc.


Within the framework of the Institute, various committees are functioning, sub-serving the purpose of planning and research.

Research Advisory Committee (RAC)

The Research Advisory Committee constituted by the Council consisting of eminent scientists in various disciplines provides broad guidelines in terms of thrust areas and approaches. This committee meets every year.

Quinquennial Review Team (QRT)

Quinquennial Review Team constituted by the ICAR of eminent scientists in various disciplines reviews the functioning and progress of research in ICAR-CICR for a specified period and provides their recommendations to the Council.

Institute Management Committee (IMC)

The Institute Management Committee has representatives from the State Government, SAUs, ICAR, and the farming community with the Director as Chairman. The Institute IMC has broad powers to oversee the R&D activities of the Institute in respect of the plan proposals and periodical review of R&D activities.

Institute Research Council (IRC)

The IRC meets at least twice a year. In the IRC meetings, research programs are reviewed and the technical program approved for implementation. New project proposals submitted by the scientists are also considered critically and approved. The IRC chaired by the Director also arranges scientific talks house and invited experts on topics of contemporary research.


A revised Institute Biosafety Committee (IBSC) was approved by the IBKP, RCGM/GEAC, New Delhi in 2020 for monitoring genetic engineering and GM cotton work of the institute.

Information Compiled by Dr. M. Sabesh Source: CICR Annual reports: updated: 25:04:2023
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