Cotton Defoliation Timing

Cotton 017

With so much attention on peanuts this week, cotton is starting to be defoliated in the county. We were looking at some fields this morning to make decisions on defoliating. There are a few different methods from the 2014 UGA Cotton Production Handbook we could check to make decisions.

  1. Counting bolls – We can defoliate when 60%-75% of bolls are open. This method focuses mainly on the “open” portion of the bolls, but ignores the “unopen” portion.
  2. CottonBoll 009Slicing bolls – Slice the boll in half with a knife. Bolls are mature and ready for harvest aid applications when they cannot be sliced with “stringing” the lint. Also, bolls are mature when the seed embro contains only tiny folded leaves (no ‘jelly’ within developing seed) and the seedcoat begins to turn yellow or tan.
  3. Nodes Above Cracked Boll (NACB) – This is determined by counting the number of nodes between the uppermost first position cracked boll and the uppermost 1st position boll that is expected to be harvested. Once NACB reaches 4, we are generally safe to defoliate.

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