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Agronomy 2017, 7(1), 9; doi:10.3390/agronomy7010009

Chemical-Free Cotton Defoliation by; Mechanical, Flame and Laser Girdling

United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Services, Lubbock Texas, USA
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Academic Editor: Leslie A. Weston
Received: 6 September 2016 / Revised: 13 December 2016 / Accepted: 19 January 2017 / Published: 25 January 2017

Abstract

A novel new way to achieve chemical-free defoliation of cotton is discussed. The research found that by severing the phloem tissue on the main stalk, via a girdling operation, the operation stimulated the cotton plant to alter its growth into an early senescence pathway that resulted in the plant shedding its leaves and opening up all its bolls, leaving the plant in the perfect state for machine harvesting. Even with follow-up rains, zero regrowth occurred in the treated plants, unlike the untreated control plots where significant regrowth did occur. This report compares the results of greenhouse and field trials where the girdling operation was performed by hand, flame, mechanical and via a CO2 laser to achieve phloem tissue severance. Design parameters for a prototype laser girdling system are also provided. Results suggest that for deficit irrigated cotton, girdling can provide an alternative means to defoliate cotton. View Full-Text
Keywords: cotton defoliation; cotton desiccation; laser treatment; girdling cotton defoliation; cotton desiccation; laser treatment; girdling
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Pelletier, M.G.; Wanjura, J.D.; Holt, G.A. Chemical-Free Cotton Defoliation by; Mechanical, Flame and Laser Girdling. Agronomy 2017, 7, 9.

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