Cotton growth stages: square retention
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Cotton growth stages: square retention

January 5, 2020

I’m going to demonstrate how to assess retention
on a crop that is just about to commence flowering. What most people do is pick out a metre of
row like this, and they examine the retention of first position squares on the top 5 fruiting
branches. Examine the plant from the top and proceed
down the plant to the next fruiting branch, 3rd fruiting branch, 4th and 5th, checking
to see whether those first position fruit are still present, or whether they’ve been
lost from the plant due to weather shedding or insect feeding or some other cause.
If we look at retention on this plant – I’ve pulled some leaves off so you can see more
clearly – the top position’s present, the next position has actually been shed – that
one there is a P2 square. On the next one that one is present, the next one’s present,
and this one here is also present. So for those top 5 fruiting branches, we’ve got 80%
retention. Keeping an eye on retention is a really useful
way of checking the development of the crop, and just to make sure you’re not missing some
sort of insect damage, or some other physiological cause of damage to the crop during these early
reproductive phases. It’s not unusual, even in a Bollgard crop
to have retentions fall to around 40-60%, but what is important at this stage is to
be able to identify the cause of those lower retentions, and if necessary take remedial
action. Measuring retention weekly is a great way
of keeping an eye on the progress of your crop and ensure you’re well on your way to
the boll setting period.

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