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Short-season cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) may be a suitable response to late planting in sub-Saharan regions

Cao T.V., Palai O., Gawrysiak G., Klassou C., Hau B.. 2011. Field Crops Research, 120 (1) : p. 9-20.

DOI: 10.1016/j.fcr.2010.08.007

In Cameroon, seed cotton yields have not increased over the last 20 years because of the shortening of the rainy season and the worsening socioeconomic context. Farmers consequently often delay planting their crops. The main objective of this study was to investigate whether local indeterminate long-season cottons, grown at the recommended density, were more consistent with the farmers' current constraints than determinate short-season cultivars from Latin America that could be sown more densely.Wecarried out a 3-year three-location survey in northern Cameroon, which included two planting dates (recommended and delayed) and two planting densities (recommended and high). We show that these three factors acted independently. Late planting had a highly negative impact on most traits at both plant and plot scale by delaying flowering, reducing seed cotton yield and fibre quality. Dense sowing mainly had an impact on individual plant traits by reducing boll retention and elongating main-stem internodes. Local cultivars have already evolved favourably (enhanced earliness, yield performance, harvest index, ginning out-turn, and fibre maturity) and could be improved further by crossing with highly determinate cottons. However, such a strategy requires further investigation to ensure that a more determinate growth pattern would not have a negative impact on the adaptive response of the traditional cotton plant to other adverse conditions.

Mots-clés : gossypium hirsutum; densité de semis; date de semis; variété indigène; intéraction génotype environnement; rendement des cultures; cameroun; afrique au sud du sahara

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