Document Type: Research Paper
University of Thessaly, School of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Agriculture, Crop Production and Agricultural Environment, Fytoko Street, 38446, N. Ionia, Magnesias, Volos, Greece.
Demosthenis Chachalis, Benaki Phytopathological Institute, 8 S. Delta Str., Athens 14561, Greece.
The effect of row spacings and irrigation levels on the earliness of seed production of cotton was investigated under the Mediterranean environment of central Greece. This particular cotton growing area is exposed to risk of autumn rainfall that might cause low seed quality in fields allocated primarily for seed production. Two varieties of cotton, Celia and Hersi, were planted in two row spacings (93 and 75 cm) and two irrigation levels (normal and low levels 6160 and 3080 mm ha-1). No significant difference in the yield was found among the two varieties, nor between the two row spacings. The low irrigation level had significantly negative effects on the number of squares, bolls, total dry weight and seed cotton production when compared with irrigation level. However, the low irrigation level resulted in a harvest earlier by ten days, which contributed to avoiding autumn rainfall. Seed quality (measured by germination and Warm-Cold Vigour Index Test) was better in seeds from the low irrigation level than in those from the normal irrigation level. Although yield of both varieties was higher under normal irrigation, seed quality was lower compared to low irrigation level. This was evidenced by the higher Free Fatty Acid (FFA) in “normally” irrigated plants. The results of this study showed that low irrigation level offers substantial benefits for early harvesting and production of high seed quality. Moreover, the FFA could be successfully employed as a quick criterion for seed quality ranking.