Effect of Different Fertilizer In Cotton

The seven color image above shows a classified aerial image of a cotton field in north Alabama. The field was planted in one variety. The field slopes down from east to west. The western half of the field usually yields better than the eastern half. The grower uses our services for variable rate spraying of cotton with growth regulators and defoliants. He knows his fields well enough to write prescriptions without scouting the fields with the classified imagery.
       However, the difference seen in the classified image surprised him enough to drive 40 miles to look at the field. The bottom picture on the left was taken on the line where the classified image showed a distinct transition from a classes 2 and 3 to a classes 6 and 7. In the field it was hard to pick out visually the difference between cotton on the western side (Class 2 and 3) and cotton on the eastern side (Class 6 and 7) of the field.
       In the end, the grower remembered that the litter truck started on the east side and ran out about 3/5 down in the middle of the field. Approximately 2 to 3 tons of litter was applied. The west side of the field received a commercial fertilizer. The grower was aiming to apply the same amount of nitrogen over the whole field.
       Surprises like this do not stand alone. Many fields are treated differently from one end to the other for whatever reason. To maximize profits it is important to treat each area in the field individually. In the above case, the eastern side of the field might need a little more growth regulator to prevent too much vegetative growth.

Download printable version