In the Southwest, the 2020 cotton crop has endured drought, triple-digit temperatures, hail, gusting winds, and a September cold front that dropped temperatures into the upper 30s and, in portions of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles, into the lower 30s.
Farm Press visited with Brendan Kelly, assistant professor for cotton fiber phenomics, Texas Tech University, to discuss fiber development and developmental concerns raised when an untimely cold spell occurs.
"There are many different factors in terms of how the bolls are set on the plant, when they were set on the plant, the physiological processes feeding those bolls and how they're affected by cold temperatures," Kelly explains. "Cotton is a complex crop."
Kelly, who also has a joint appointment with Texas A&M AgriLife Research, focuses on measurement assessment of cotton fiber quality and determining the impact of that quality on end-product performance.
How much the drought or September's wintery visit affected the region's crop, won't likely be known until the cotton is stripped, ginned and classed. "It goes back to distribution. How do we know what bolls were in which stage in which field when that cold front came? What bolls were in a slow, photosynthetic time period, trying to develop the secondary cell wall? It's difficult to say. Development is so varied across the region, it can depend on the variety and all kinds of other things."
Watch this video to learn more.