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Cotton production during the tropical monsoon season. II – Biomass accumulation, partitioning and RUE in response to boll loss and compensation

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Grundy, P. R., Yeates, S. J. and Bell, K. L. (2020) Cotton production during the tropical monsoon season. II – Biomass accumulation, partitioning and RUE in response to boll loss and compensation. Field Crops Research, 255 . p. 107868. ISSN 0378-4290

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fcr.2020.107868

Publisher URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378429019308482


Growth and reproductive structure retention in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) is dependent on light intensity, which is often irregular in tropical environments due to shading from cloudiness associated with the monsoon. The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential effects that cloudiness-induced reproductive organ abscission and compensatory responses might have on cotton growth, partitioning and conversion of radiation to biomass (radiation use efficiency RUE) as this was unknown for the monsoon tropics. Cotton cultivars representing different morphology were sown in field experiments at closely timed intervals during the early monsoon over 5 seasons to expose crops to varying amounts of cloud-related shading, creating a matrix of crop responses. In paper I, final boll number was strongly linked with lint yield, and boll retention on the early and late flowering sympodia and yield were correlated with the radiation environment during flowering. Grouping sowing time treatments that had a similar intra-canopy distribution of bolls at maturity provided a mechanism to compare yield recovery post boll loss and consider causal factors. Maximum crop biomass ranged from 1232−1933 g m−2. Lint yield was correlated with the fraction of total biomass present as bolls (P < 0.001) but not maximum biomass (P = 0.61), as cloudiness-related fruit loss and subsequent canopy responses changed the ratio of reproductive vs vegetative biomass partitioning. Differences in biomass partitioning between cultivars were minor. When cloud cover abated, extended concurrent vegetative and reproductive growth enabled yield recovery. Greater LAI was a consequence of compensatory processes following fruit loss. Faster development of LAI in response to the monsoon during early flowering could further shade lower canopy fruiting sites, exacerbating fruit abscission and impacting yield compensation. RUEg (glucose equivalent) of 2.35 & 2.63 g MJ−1 PAR was comparable with cotton grown in temperate environments but declined when lower canopy fruit abscission followed by extended concurrent growth altered the ratio of vegetative vs reproductive biomass partitioning. Cloudiness poses a dichotomy of challenges for crop management during the tropical monsoon season. After cloudiness-induced fruit loss, extended concurrent growth when the radiation environment improves must be encouraged to enable the initiation of new fruiting sites for yield recovery. However, expansionary canopy growth in response to cloud and fruit loss may exacerbate detrimental shading of the lower canopy and detract from later yield recovery. Therefore management tactics including the use of irrigation, nutrient and growth regulant inputs must achieve an appropriate balance between vegetative and reproductive components during compensatory growth.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Crop and Food Science
Keywords:Boll abscission Crop compensation Partitioning LAI
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural meteorology. Crops and climate
Plant culture > Field crops > Textile and fibre plants
Live Archive:27 Jul 2020 07:28
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:45

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