Study: Organic Cotton Production - Abstract: Cotton sold as .organic. must be grown according to the federal guidelines for organic crop production. Soil fertility practices that meet organic certification standards typically include crop rotation, cover cropping, animal manure additions, and use of naturally occurring rock powders. Weed management is accomplished by a combination of cultivation, flame weeding, and other cultural practices. A wide variety of insects attack cotton. Management options include trap cropping, strip cropping, and managing border vegetation to encourage high populations of native beneficials. Certain biopesticides using bacteria, viruses, and fungal insect pathogens are available as insect control tools.
We discuss specific insect management strategies for cutworm, cotton bollworm, tobacco budworm, pink bollworm, armyworm, loopers, thrips, fleahoppers, lygus bugs, aphids, whitefly, spider mite, and boll weevil. Seedling disease, soil disease, and foliar disease management is also discussed. Pre-harvest defoliation methods that meet organic certification are mostly limited to citric acid, flamers and frost. The publication concludes with sections on marketing organic cotton and the economics and profitability of organic cotton production.
By: Martin Guerena and Preston Sullivan. NCAT Agriculture Specialists. July 2003
Keywords: cotton, organic, production, management, crop, soil, fertility, crop rotation, cover cropping, manure, rock powder, cutworm, cotton bollworm, tobacco budworm, pink bollworm, armyworm, loopers, thrips, fleahoppers, lygus bugs, aphids, whitefly, spider mite, and boll weevil.