Monday, September 20, 2010

On to High Plains Cotton

So the next stop on my fertilizer mission took me, once again, to the Texas Panhandle where we have a contract research experiment evaluating different fertilizer applications in irrigated cotton. This is the experiment where I have been trying for some time to visit, but every time I show up, it rains. But Jacob and I sneaked in last Thursday. It did rain as we were driving through Amarillo on the way there, but it was hot and sunny at the plots located south of Amarillo. It may have been because it was after 5:00 and Mother Nature thought surely we wouldn't be out there past five. But the cotton in the plots looks very good, as the picture below shows. (You can tell it's a research plot because there are flags scattered around the field.)
Now this cotton is shorter than the cotton I just saw in Alabama, but it is really loaded up withy bolls. This is stripper cotton (referring to the type of harvester), and it doesn't have the long branches with lots of bolls on them as I showed earlier. But it is loaded top to bottom as the picture shows. It was hard to tell any differences in treatments, but we thought we saw more plants leaning over due to boll load in the treated plots. Time will tell. (Sadly, we lost a grower test for cotton foliars due to hail. It was a ways south of here. But sad for the grower to lose a good -looking field that way.)
This is the stripper that will be used for plot harvest. It has a basket with a scale on it to determine the plot yield. Separate samples will also be collected to determine the per cent lint weight after trash and burs are subtracted. And samples will also be collected for fiber quality analysis. It takes a lot of time and work for this process we refer to as "research" (I'm holding up both hands with the index and middle fingers extended for quotation marks, and bending the fingers with each syllable. Try it. All us scientist types do it.)

So that was my week of cotton from two different areas of the cotton belt. Now it's back to the NCRS to, hopefully, continue this early harvest.