Cotton Farming Made Easy: How to Plant Cotton Seeds and Grow a Profitable Crop
Cotton is one of India’s most important fiber and cash crops. It provides the Cotton textile industry with Cotton fiber, its primary raw material. Cotton provides direct income to six million farmers in India, while between forty and fifty million people are involved in the cotton trade and its processing.
The cotton plant thrives in warm climates. It cannot handle temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If you reside in a chilly climate, it is best to start the plant indoors and move it outside once the weather has warmed. Cotton is self-pollinating, therefore fewer plants are required. In this blog, we will discuss what factors you need to assess while planting a cotton seed.
How to plant a Cotton seed?
Planting cotton seeds requires careful preparation and attention to detail to ensure a successful harvest. Before planting, it’s important to choose the right time, properly prepare the soil, and buy the cotton seeds with the best qualities. Here, we will provide step-by-step instructions on how to plant cotton seeds, from choosing the right soil to maintaining the crop until harvest time.
Optimum Cotton Planting Conditions
Cotton grows best in tropical and subtropical climates. For better germination in the field, the temperature needs to be at least 15ºC. The best temperature for vegetative growth is between 21 to 27ºC, but the crop can handle temperatures up to 43ºC.
During the fruiting period, warm days and cool nights help the cotton boll and fiber grow well. It grows on a wide range of soils, from well-drained deep alluvial soils in the north such as Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan, to black clayey soils of different depths in the center and black and mixed black and red soils in the south such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. Cotton doesn’t like being too salty or too wet, and it grows best in soils that drain well.
The texture and fertility of the land must match what the seed crops need. There can’t be any weeds, volunteer plants, or other crop plants on the land. You can use proper weed killers to ensure this. The same crop couldn’t have been grown the year before. If so, water the field early and let the seeds that grew on their own from the previous season die. Choose land with fertile soil and a way for water to drain. The best conditions for growing cotton plants are long periods of growth (about 175 to 225 days) with no frost.
Cotton requires at least 500 mm of water between when the seeds sprout and when the bolls form. It needs firm, warm, and moist seedbeds that have been well-prepared. When you plant, you have to take into account the temperature of the soil and the weather forecast for the next month. Putting fungicides on seeds before they are planted helps keep seedling diseases at bay.
Before putting fungicides or any other agrochemicals, it is necessary to conduct an extensive cotton crop disease diagnosis. This will help you put the right amount and type of fungicides and prevent over usage of agrochemicals in your field.
While sowing cotton seeds, take care that you don’t plant too deeply in soil that is too wet, too cold, too hard, or that have a lot of chemicals in them. It’s important to use herbicides as directed on the label to keep seedlings and roots from getting hurt. Fertilizers should be used in a way that keeps seeds and plants from getting hurt.
Before you plant cotton outside, you should use a soil thermometer to make sure that the soil is at least 60ºF warm. And check this every morning for the next three days. Once the temperature stays in this range, you can work the soil and add about an inch of compost. Compost is a great way for plants to get the nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, and trace minerals they need to grow well.
The spacing for cotton planting should be such that the cotton seeds are an inch deep and four inches apart in groups of three. Then cover the soil and press it down. In about two weeks, the seeds should start to grow. Under ideal conditions, they will start to grow within a week.
Selection of seeds for Cotton Seed Germination
The properties of cotton seeds play an important role in their growth. To get uniform growth, you must use good-quality seeds. Fresh seeds only should be used. Don’t use old seeds that have been stored for more than a year because they are less likely to grow.
To test the seeds’ quality, soak the seeds that have been cleaned for 3 hours in double the amount of water. Dry the seeds in the shade until they are as dry as they were before, and then put them back in the water. The dead seeds will float to the top of the water and be washed away. All of the good seeds sink to the bottom of the sinkers.
The process of cotton germination and the plant’s strength will be better if the seed is heavier. The good, plump seeds are due to the relatively large embryo, which has a lot of food reserves and moves food around well, allowing seedlings to grow to be big.
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Cotton Seed Placement
Plant cotton seeds in a place with loose, rich soil where the plants will get at least 4 or 5 hours of direct sunlight every day. It can be grown in a pot, but the pot needs to be at least 36 inches deep.
Before you plant, it helps to put an inch of compost into the soil. It will help you mitigate the cotton nutrient deficiencies. When you plant seeds too soon, they take longer to grow. Wait until the temperature stays above 60ºF for a while.
Cotton takes 65 to 75 days to grow from a seed to a flower when the temperature is above 60ºF. After the flowers bloom, it takes another 50 days for the seed pods to be ready.
Taking care of root growth
Root growth is the most important part of a cotton plant’s growth while it is germinating and setting up as a seedling. By the time the cotyledons come out, the taproot can be as deep as 10 inches. And this is a very important time for the root system to grow. Root growth and plant development are all slowed down by cold soils, seedling diseases, low soil pH, water stress, hardpans, and herbicide damage.
However, most of these stresses can be reduced with careful crop management. The roots of a plant take in water and nutrients that are important for the plant’s growth. Anything that stops the roots from growing in the early stages of a cotton plant’s life can lead to a disappointing production season.
Cotton grows the fastest when the soil is warm and wet. Low temperatures below and lack of enough water in the soil can slow metabolic processes and make it harder for seeds to grow. Physical obstacles, like crusting, don’t slow down the germination of seeds, but they can stop the hypocotyls from coming out. This causes the hypocotyls to get thicker and a condition called “big shank” or “thick-legged” cotton, which makes the seedlings less strong.
Taking care of the cotton plant
As part of taking care of Cotton plants, you should water them every day during the summer. About 4 to 5 weeks after planting, the plants will start to grow branches. At 8 weeks, you should start to see the first squares. Soon after that, the flowers will start to appear. Once the cream-colored and white flowers have been pollinated, they will turn pink. At this point, the plants will start to make a boll, which will turn into the “Cotton ball.”
Throughout this whole process, plants need water to grow and produce as they should. When all of the bolls have opened up and looked like fluffy balls, the Cotton plant is ready to be picked. This happens about 4 months after planting. Cotton plants will dry out and drop their leaves on their own just before the bolls break. Make sure that you wear gloves when picking cotton from plants so that your hands don’t get cut.
Put proper fertilizers
The necessary fertilizers should be used while planting a cotton seed to ensure its healthy growth and development. When deciding which type and how much fertilizer to use on your cotton crop, consider the following:
Cotton plants need a fertilizer with a good balance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Ammonium nitrate, urea, and diammonium phosphate are just some of the fertilizers available to you. Remember to read the labels and apply them at the prescribed rates.
If you want to know what kind of nutrients your soil needs, you should do a soil test before you put down any fertilizers. You can correct any nutrient imbalances by adjusting your fertilizer application based on the results of a soil test.
Fertilizers should be applied prior to planting or during the first stages of plant growth. Late fertilizer application can stunt a plant’s development.
Always make sure fertilizers are spread out evenly while you’re working with soil. Variations in plant development and production quality are both possible outcomes of sloppy application.
As your cotton plants grow, keep an eye on their development and adjust the fertilization as necessary. Some examples of this are adjusting the frequency of fertilizer treatments or the total amount used.
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Robust insecticide coverage
To germinate and grow successfully, cotton plants require robust insecticide coverage. Insects are a major cause of decreased cotton yields and lower-quality crops. For effective pest management in cotton and to optimize yields, you need to have robust insecticide coverage.
Choose an insecticide to buy that works against the pests that plague your cotton crop. There is a wide variety of insecticides available for use in cotton, but it is crucial to use one that is effective in your region. Remember to read the labels and apply them at the prescribed rates. Insecticides should be applied either before the insects appear or at the first sign of insect activity. Insect damage can be reduced, and harvests can be maximized with this method.
Incorporate IPM (Integrated Pest Management) practices. IPM is a comprehensive strategy for pest management that draws from a variety of approaches. Insecticides and cultural practices like crop rotation and cleanliness are two examples.
Use calibrated equipment and apply insecticides at the suggested rates to provide a uniform coating. Poor coverage and diminished efficacy of the pesticide may arise from an uneven application.
Keep an eye on bug populations and readjust your insecticide spraying accordingly. Check for pest damage as your cotton plants ripen so you may modify your insecticide application accordingly. It’s possible that you’ll need to adjust the frequency, or perhaps the amount, of insecticide sprays.
Start growing cotton today – buy your seeds now!
Cotton farming in India provides livelihoods for millions of people. Planting and growing cotton is a complex process that requires attention to many different factors, from seed selection and planting techniques to fertilization and pest management. By following best practices and using the right tools and techniques, cotton farmers can help ensure successful crops and optimal yields.
To address these challenges and promote sustainable cotton farming, Indian farmers can adopt a range of practices, such as using organic fertilizers and integrated pest management techniques, implementing soil conservation measures, and supporting research and development efforts.
At BadiKheti, the top online agriculture marketplace in India, we are committed to helping cotton farmers make a healthy profit from cotton farming. We aim to do this by providing cotton farmers easy access to buy high-quality cotton seeds, fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, and agricultural equipment at a reasonable price. Let’s grow top-notch cotton together.