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Cotton root systems and recovery of applied P and K fertilisers

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Lester, D. W. and Bell, M. (2015) Cotton root systems and recovery of applied P and K fertilisers. In: 2nd Australian Cotton Research Conference, Toowoomba Qld 4350.

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With potential to accumulate substantial amounts of above-ground biomass, at maturity an irrigated cotton crop can have taken up more than 20 kg/ha phosphorus and often more than 200 kg/ha of potassium. Despite the size of plant accumulation of P and K, recovery of applied P and K fertilisers by the crop in our field experiment program has poor. Processing large amounts of mature cotton plant material to provide a representative sample for chemical analysis has not been without its challenges, but the questions regarding mechanism of where, how and when the plant is acquiring immobile nutrients remain.
Dry matter measured early in the growing season (squaring, first white flower) have demonstrated a 50% increase in crop biomass to applied P (in particular), but it represents only 20% of the total P accumulation by the plant. By first open boll (and onwards), no response in dry matter or P concentration could be detected to P application.
A glasshouse study indicated P recovery was greater (to FOB) where it was completely mixed through a profile as opposed to a banded application method suggesting cotton prefers a more diffuse distribution. The relative effects of root morphology, mycorrhizal fungi infection, seasonal growth patterns and how irrigation is applied are areas for future investigation on how, when and where cotton acquires immobile nutrients.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Business groups:Crop and Food Science
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Methods and systems of culture. Cropping systems
Plant culture > Field crops > Textile and fibre plants
Live Archive:09 Feb 2016 00:56
Last Modified:29 Nov 2022 00:52

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