Cotton plants are worldwide used as an industrial field crop due to obtaining raw materials such as fibres to the textile industry.
The main producers are China, United States and India, although cotton is produced in more than 100 countries.
Climate and soil requirements
The cotton can be cultivated in different climates such as tropical, subtropical and mild climates. The development of the crop depends on the temperature. The optimum temperature of germination varies between 20oC and 25 oC with a minimum temperature of 15ºC and a maximum of 35oC. The ideal conditions for an adequate blooming are generally average temperature between 20oC and 30oC. To the maturing of the capsule it is necessary an average temperature between 25oC and 30oC.
The soils need to be deep and able to retain water, maintaining humidity during the whole cycle of the crop. Cotton plants are generally very resistant to salinity effects, being a very interesting option on such affected areas where salts and/or saline water become a limitation.
The plant spacing can vary according to the type of harvest: manual or mechanical. When the harvest is mechanical the distance between lines may vary between 0.9m and 1m. When the harvest is manual it is recommended a sow width of 0.8m.
Not only the quantity of water determines the final production, but also the timely application moment required by the crop physiology. It is necessary to know the requirements of water on each phenological stage of the crop to obtain the maximum economic output. There are different irrigation methods in the cotton cultivation; drip irrigation is the most commonly used technique nowadays. The application of irrigation is homogeneous and uniform. In the drip irrigation the water can be accurately and frequently applied. It is an effective method to control the plant growing and the final production, and thanks to it, it is possible to obtain record outputs.