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Fruiting Position Value In GA Cotton

Cotton defoliation is underway across the state of Georgia. There are many fields that will sit and wait as growers focus on peanut harvest. Data collected in 2019 and 2020 are a reminder not to leave it too long.

Percent Yield per Fruiting Position

Fruiting Location200620192020 meanJeff Davis #1Jeff Davis #2TattnallTreutlen
1st Positions64%72%55%46%56%66%51%
2nd Positions28%18%22%22%21%24%20%
3rd Positions8%5%6%8%5%6%7%
4th Positions0%1%0%0%1%
5th Positions0%0%0%0%0%
Nodes ≤1042%60%39%51%59%8%39%
Nodes 11-1541%31%36%35%35%42%32%
Nodes ≥ 1617%9%25%14%6%51%29%

You can see the change in value from previous varieties and management:

2006 Money Tree
2020 Money Tree – Dollars per fruiting position at $0.75

In 2019, Dr. Whitaker collected data from DP 1646 over three locations in Tifton, GA.  While looking at the analyzed data and the new money tree graphic, we were asked if the data would be the same across the state of Georgia. In 2020, we selected 3 locations to collect data in southeast Georgia. Field sites in Jeff Davis, Treutlen and Tattnall counties with irrigated DP 1646 were used. At harvest after cotton defoliation, 10 foot of row was cut from the field, box mapped and ginned.

Overall data still shows with current cotton varieties and prices that 80% of cotton yield and profit is made in the bottom two thirds of the plant. This data indicates that 40% to 60% of yield and profit comes from node ten or below, while 31% to 36% of yield and profit come from nodes eleven to fifteen.

Data from this project will allow producers to see how cotton management affects their bottom line. Early season stress can hinder boll set in the bottom of the plant and reduce overall profit. Late season management and defoliation decisions should be made with knowledge of the top crops value in mind. Seasonal conditions and field by field situations will shift boll load, but these should be looked at as exceptions not the general rule.