Document Type: Research Paper
College of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, North University of China, Taiyuan, 030051, P. R. China.
Institute of Cotton, Shanxi Academy of Agricultural Sciences Yuncheng, 044000, P. R. China.
Straw nursery pots (SNPs), which utilize agricultural residues such as wheat
straw and corn stalks as raw materials, can be widely used in the transplanting
of seedlings of crops, vegetables, flowers and trees. Plastic nursery pots (PNPs)
and direct sowing (DS) were used as controls in evaluating the effects of SNPs
on plant growth, dry matter partitioning, yields and economic benefits of
transplanted cotton. SNPs significantly increased the rate of emergence,
shortened the convalescent period by about 7 d and increased the transplant
survival rate by 8.8% compared to PNPs. This led to significantly increased dry
matter accumulation: that of reproductive parts for SNP seedlings were 1.5- and
1.8-fold of that for PNPs and DS, respectively. The lint yield using SNPs was
11.5 and 17.5% greater than for PNPs and DS, respectively. Boll number per
plant with SNPs was 7.5 and 23.3% greater than for PNPs and DS, respectively;
lint weight was not significantly different than with PNPs and was 5.8% greater
than for DS. There were no significant differences in lint percentage among the
three systems. Further benefit analysis showed that net revenue per hectare
from using SNPs in cotton production was US$108 and US$279 greater than
for PNP and DS, respectively. This was mainly due to significantly increased
output, a reduced number of seedlings needed, nursery pot costs accounting for
a relatively small proportion of total investment, and the relatively low labor
costs in China.