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Notes on Cotton (Gossypium spp.)

Notes on Cotton (Gossypium spp.): 

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Source: Modern Techniques of Raising Field Crops Book by Chhidda Singh

Origin and History:

  • Used in India for over 5000 years, cultivated in the Indus Valley.
  • Referenced in ancient texts like the Rig-Veda and Manu's Dharma Shastra.
  • Originated in India, spread to Egypt, Spain, and Italy.
  • India: Center of cotton industry around 1500 BC.

Area and Distribution:

  • Global cultivation: 33.1 million hectares, producing 52.1 million tonnes of seed cotton (as of 1999).
  • Major producers: India, USA, Russia, China, Brazil, Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey, Mexico, Sudan.
  • India: Largest in acreage (8.7 million hectares), fourth in production.


  • Family: Malvaceae, Genus: Gossypium.
  • Gossypium includes 20 species, with both wild and cultivated types.
  • Cultivated species: Gossypium arboreum, Gossypium herbaceum, Gossypium hirsutum, Gossypium barbadense.

Botanical Description:

  • Perennial in the wild, annual when cultivated.
  • Height: 60-200 cm.
  • Root: Taproot with lateral branching.
  • Stem: Erect, branched.
  • Leaves: Spirally arranged, 3-9 lobes.
  • Flowers: In fruiting branches only, typical of Malvaceae family.

Climatic Requirements:

  • Warm season crop.
  • Mean annual temperature: Over 16°C.
  • Annual rainfall: At least 50 cm.
  • Temperature range: 16°C - 43°C.
  • Frost-free season of 180-240 days required in North India.


  • Suitable soils: Sandy loam, clay loam, alluvial, black cotton, red sandy loams, lateritic.
  • Avoid: Sandy, saline, waterlogged soils.
  • Soil pH: 5.5 - 8.5.

Cropping Systems:

  • Northern India: Rotations with wheat, chickpea, pea, linseed, berseem.
  • Southern India: Cotton-sorghum-ragi rotation, intercropping common.

Field Preparation:

  • Requires well-prepared seedbed.
  • Ploughing, harrowing, planking recommended.

Seed and Sowing:

  • Seed Treatment: Delinting with sulphuric acid, treatment for pests and diseases.
  • Seed Rate and Spacing: Varies by variety and region.

Sowing Time and Method:

  • Optimal sowing time varies by region.
  • Sowing method: Drilling seed in rows.

Manures and Fertilisers:

  • Cotton is a heavy feeder.
  • Recommendations vary by region and variety.

Water Management:

  • Irrigation based on rain frequency and intensity.
  • Avoid waterlogging.

Weed Control:

  • Interculture necessary for weed control.
  • Manual and chemical methods used.


  • Common diseases: Root Rot, Fusarium Wilt, Anthracnose, Bacterial Blight, Myrothecium Leaf Spot, Boll Rot.
  • Control measures include crop rotation, chemical treatments, resistant varieties.

Insect Pests:

  • Major pests: Pink Boll Worm, Spotted Boll Worm, American Boll Worm, Jassids, Aphids, Thrips, Whitefly, Cotton Leaf Roller.
  • Control measures include heating seeds, fumigation, resistant varieties, chemical sprays.

Use of Hormones:

  • Naphthalene Acetic Acid and Cycocel Sprays for better boll formation and growth control.


  • Handpicked in multiple stages.
  • Important to dry and clean properly for market quality.


  • Improved practices can yield 15-20 quintals per hectare.
  • Higher yields (25-30 q/ha) from hybrids.


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