Problems and solutions of cotton in Pakistan

Problems and solutions of cotton in Pakistan

Arshad Ali1*, Muhammad Umair Yasin2, Touqeer Haider3, Zarghoona Naz4 and Muhammad Amjid1.

1Postgraduate Lab, Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad

2Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad

3 Pomology lab, Institute of Horticulture, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad

4Agro-Climatology Lab, Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad

*Corresponding author’s email: [email protected]


Problems and solutions of cotton in Pakistan

1.1 Introduction:

Cotton, which is also known as ‘white gold’, is an important crop in many developing countries. Cotton is the most vital and extensively used fiber ever known to man. First described by Linnaeus, the cotton plant, genus Gossypium, is one of the most economically and informally important crops in the world. In the Globe 50 species of cotton are known but only four are cultivated. Two of them (Gossypium arboreum and Gossypium herbaceum) are diploids and two (Gossypium hirsutum and Gossypium barbadense) are tetraploids. Cotton is presently the chief plant fibre crop in worldwide and is cultivated commercially in the temperate and tropical areas of more than 50 countries in the Globe. The most extensively cultivated species is Gossypium hirsutum, which originated in Central America and has been implemented by approximately all the major cotton growing countries in the Globe.

It is a dicotyledonous plant, having an upright stem with apical growth. The stem is soft and woody and has branches organized in a 3/8 spiral phyllotactic pattern. Flowering branches produce 6 to 8 flowers per branch on average.  Leaves vary in size, shape, texture, and hairiness. The cotton plant has a taproot with lateral roots emerging in a tetrarch arrangement. The size of the plant depends on soil, climate, and water conditions as well as the plant variety. Cotton grows best in clay loam soil with a semitropical climate. A warm winter and spring is optimal, with a 6 to 7 month long growing season. It takes about 130 days from planting to boll formation.

Cotton is used for thousands of things, including clothes, space suits for astronauts and ingredients in the food that we eat. In addition to textile products like underwear, socks and t-shirts, cotton is also used in fishnets, coffee filters, book binding and archival paper. Cotton is a food and a fibre crop. Cotton seed is fed to cattle and crushed to make oil. The cottonseed is crushed in order to separate its three products – oil, meal and hulls. Cottonseed oil is used primarily for shortening, cooking oil and salad dressing. The meal and hulls that remain are used either distinctly or in amalgamation as livestock, poultry and fish feed and as compost. The stalks and leaves of the cotton plant are plowed under to enrich the soil.

1.2 Major Problems of Cotton Cultivation:

Improper Management Strategies:

Adulterated Seed Quality:

Currently cottonseed must be delinted to be used in current planting equipment. The two utmost common procedures are gas delinting using hydrogen chloride wet acid delinting using sulphuric acid. There are numerous problems related to acid delinting including destruction of seed class by inappropriate procedures during the acid delinting process, losses to the seed by ammonia through the neutralization procedure.

Seed Germination:

Seed inexpression is a significant factor convoluted in sprouting of cotton crop. Moreover, some approaches of cotton may produce ‘hard seeds’ that upon drying, become resistant to water and suffer delayed germination. Priming better emergence and early growth of cotton in drying soils in the laboratory. On-farm seed priming can partly recompense for the negative properties of low soil water potential and large aggregate sizes on crop establishment.

Inadequate Fertilizers Use:

They are prevalent use of agrochemicals and yield stagnation. Among all agrochemicals fertilizers are of extreme position. There are no effective replacements to synthetic fertilizers and cotton production has to bear the use of nutrient supplements in the form of inorganic fertilizers. There are also many aspects which can affect fibre quality and yield.

Ineffectiveness Chemicals Spraying:

Meager spraying procedures and over-use of chemicals has led to the pest becoming resistant to most of the available insecticides. Seeing their crops overcome by bollworms and despairing to recover something from their losses, farmers have carry on buy more expensive and toxic chemicals and to spray more regularly but with declining effectiveness.

Insects Attacks:

Insects are living organisms, have familiar with the harmful chemicals and survive with insecticides. Therefore, insecticide usage reserved accumulative causing a serious influence on the economics of cotton production. Presently, there is a greater need for advances in production investigation but researchers are challenged with preserving the current position of yields in their countries. The cost of production has improved to unacceptable levels in many countries that threaten the economics of cotton production.

The bollworm/budworm composite is a principal insect pest problematic with larvae attacking squares and bolls affecting major yield losses due uncontrolled. The cotton whitefly is a pest of chief situation for fibre, agronomic, horticultural, ornamental crops in the Globe. It can cause broad destruction through direct feeding, honeydew production and as a viral vector.

Pink hibiscus mealy bug is a developing threat to the cotton crop. Its host chronicles extend with some beloved for Fabaceae, Malvaceae and Moraceae. Growing points crawling with cotton mealy bug become inhibited and swollen growth. This diverges according to the vulnerability of each host species. Plant protection products are incomplete efficiency associated to the bug because of its habit of hiding in crevices and the waxy covering of its body.

Pests Uncontrolled:

Cotton is a pest-loving plant and due to this habit it has become a problematic crop for the farmers. In commercial cotton field more than 1326 species of insects have been reportedin the Globe but only minor quantities are pests. Important pests are of the 30 pests of cultivated cotton are the caterpillars of pink, spotted and American bollworms, jassids, whitefly, aphids, mealy bugs and the spider mite.

Other Agronomic Factors:

Agronomic practices affecting the yield include sowing time, low class and adulterated seed, timing of harvest, irrigation, soil fertility, tillage, use of plant growth regulators and cultivar selection. Conservation-tillage systems may also decline cotton yields by aggregate soil compaction and reducing water availability.

Reduction in Yield:

The yield of the crop is dependent upon the atmosphere in which it is grownup and the management practices of the cropping system. Cotton yields are stagnant for the last several years. Major factors which are responsible for the stagnant cotton production

  • Excessive rain at the time of sowing
  • High temperature at flowering stage
  • Leaf curl virus incidence, soil system, weather adversaries
  • Late wheat harvesting resulting in decline of area under the crop
  • Pest attack and improper production technology in major cotton growing areas of Punjab and Sindh.

There are many economic and social problems fronting cotton production including

  • Lack of guidance to farmers
  • High cost of inputs
  • Illiterate farming community
  • Less adoptability of innovations by the farmers
  • Small landholdings
  • The cost of production being the most significant among them
  • High cost of production and insecurity in the market



1.3 Solutions of Cotton Production:

Quality Seed:

The quality of cotton seed means it should be physically purity, genetically purity, maturity, germination and freedom from seed-borne diseases must be fully checked. Although complete purity is rare but growers should determine type and amount of impurity present in the cotton seed. Cotton farmers are recommended to indicate cotton seed with 96% purity, because sound cotton seed germinate rapidly and uniformly but the soundness of cotton seed is often adversely affected by abnormal environmental conditions and infestations of insect pests and diseases. Good seed decreases 50 per cent chances of crop failure; the rest of the 50 per cent will be covered by appropriate crop operations i.e., proper preparation of land, use of fertilizer and irrigation and crop protection. But if poor quality seed is used having poor germination then proper stand of the crop will not be possible and sometimes it may happen that the whole crop may fail.

Farmers belonging to districts Multan, Khanewal, Lodhran, Vehari, Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, DG Khan, Layyah, Muzaffargarh and Rajanpur should be recommended sow following cotton varieties for better production.

IUB-2013, FH-142, FH- Lalazar and MNH-886, FH Lalazaar, MNH-988, BH-184, VH-305, AGC-777, CEMB-33, BS-52, IUB-13, MM-58 and Leader-1and. Non-Bt varieties are: CYTO-124 and NIAB-2008.

Nutrition Management of Cotton:

A major factor affecting both cotton yield and quality is the availability of adequate and balanced nutrition. Soil nutrients are taken up by cotton in direct proportion to growth and temperature, with total nutrient uptake for nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) tracking cumulative heat units.

Cotton is an indeterminate perennial, too much nitrogen late in the season may cause excessive vegetative growth and should be avoided. Nitrogen is essential for the development shoots, buds, leaves, roots, and bolls. Cotton takes up about 60 lb of nitrogen for each 480 lb bale produced, although it should be noted that nitrogen uptake figures can vary considerably. A good N management scheme consists of three fundamental segments.

  1. Supply about 10 to 20% of the total seasonal N fertilizer need before bloom
  2. Supply the remaining needed N during the 60 to 75 day boll development period
  3. Deplete soil N for an abrupt N deficiency to help mature the crop for harvest

Phosphorus is important in early root development, photosynthesis, cell division, energy transfer, early boll development, and hastening of maturity. About 25 to 30 lb of P2O5 is taken up per bale of cotton produced. Insufficient phosphorus results in dwarfed plants, delayed fruiting and maturity, and reduced yield.

Potassium is an especially important nutrient in cotton production. It reduces the incidence and severity of wilt diseases, increases water use efficiency and affects fiber properties like micronaire, length and strength. Cotton takes up about 60 lb of K2O per bale. The need for K increases dramatically during early boll set and about 70 percent of uptake occurs after first bloom. Potassium deficiency may be expressed as a full season deficiency, or it may not appear until late season since this is the period of greatest demand.

The quantity of Nitrogen will depend upon the variety and soil test.

  • Nitrogen should be applied 1/3 at sowing, 1/3 at 1st irrigation and 1/3 at flowering
  • Application of Nitrogen fertilizers should be completed by 15th August
  • Phosphate fertilizers need not to be applied to cotton crop if its full dose was applied to wheat crop
  • Potash should be applied after soil test.
  • Potash fertilizer should be added at planting to soils showing less than 125 ppm available K

Pink Bollworm Management:

When high population levels of pink bollworm occur, the objectives of management are to keep infestations below damaging levels in the current season without creating secondary outbreaks of other pests and to reduce the overwintering population that will threaten the following season’s crop. The main control tools are observance of host-free period (San Joaquin Valley), the judicious use of insecticides, timely crop termination and harvest, rapid crop destruction, properly timed winter and spring irrigations, and compliance with plow down requirements. Be alert, however, for high populations of pink bollworm moths when squares are developing, especially if other pests such as lygus bugs and armyworms are also threatening. Mating disrupt ants and sterile moth releases, on the other hand, are most effective when aimed at the overwintering generation, usually about the time cotton plants have 6 to 8 leaves.

Pink bollworm moth mobility necessitates integrated pest management (IPM) implementation over large geographical areas. Local uncoordinated efforts have not reduced the economic status of the pink bollworm in any area where it is an established pest. The cotton-growing areas involved in the south-western USA present a wide range of pink bollworm population densities, in cotton production methods, and social and environmental considerations.

Farmers asked to cultivate cotton after mid-April:

Agriculture department and researcher have recommended the growers to start cultivation of cotton crop after mid-April to save their crops from severe pest’s attacks. Researcher advised the farmers to start cultivation of cotton after April 15 and use appropriate certified hybrid varieties if they want to get determined yield and economic benefits.


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