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Prediction of upland cotton micronaire accounting for the effects of environment and crop demand from fruit growth
Crop Science  (IF2.319),  Pub Date : 2021-12-07, DOI: 10.1002/csc2.20679
Michael P. Bange, Robert L. Long, Sarah J. Caton, Nicolas Finger

Environment and crop management can play an important role in determining upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) fiber quality. An important quality parameter is fiber micronaire, which is an indirect measure of fiber linear density (fineness) and maturity, and it is affected by crop supply and partitioning of assimilates to cotton fruit. High micronaire occurs when there is an excess of assimilates because of good growing conditions and fruit number is low. Conversely low micronaire occurs when growing conditions are poor and fruit number is high. Little research has established the degree of impact of these variables in combination influencing micronaire. Two field experiments were conducted to generate variability in micronaire by changing planting time, cultivars, canopy size, and fruit load (boll number). From these experiments, a significant relationship (r2 = 0.79) to predict micronaire was generated using temperature during crop fiber filling, leaf area index (LAI) at the start of crop fiber thickening, and the mass of individual bolls at harvest. Subsequent experiments in different seasons (included variations in planting time, fruit load, and water deficit during fiber thickening) successfully validated the relationship. Reasonable success was attained in predicting fiber linear density and maturity ratio independently and then used to calculate estimates of micronaire. Prediction of these quality attributes may offer more detailed information on the effects of environment and management influencing fiber quality affecting yarn quality. Overall, the ability to predict micronaire (and potentially its components) could be used to refine management decisions to improve fiber quality management prior to or at harvest time.