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Cotton Farming Project For Beginners

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Cotton Farming Project Report

When we say Cotton, the white ball type image is formed in our mind and we think that the Cotton is like that only, but in actual it is grown from the seeds.

Cotton is a Kharif crop and is known as ‘White Gold’. It is used to make clothes and requires 6 to 8 months for maturing. The planting of Cotton requires high temperature soil and is generally sown in April- May which are then harvested in December-January before the winter frost damages the crop. The harvesting and sowing season depends upon the climatic conditions and it differs in different regions.

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We will study in detail about the Cultivation process of Cotton in this article.

Introduction to Cotton

Cotton is one of the important cash crops of India and it plays an essential role in the industrial as well as agricultural economy of the country. The Cotton fibre is the basic raw material for the Cotton textile industry for making several products such as terry cloth, corduroy, seersucker, yarn and Cotton will which provides a livelihood to about 6 million farmers and more than 40 million people are employed in the Cotton trade and its processing.

Cotton uses about 44.5% of the total pesticides used in India. Cotton is a very thirsty crop and about 6% of water is used in its irrigation purpose and its seed is used in the vanaspati industry and can be used as a fodder for milch cattle to get a better quality of milk.

Cotton belongs to the Malvaceae family and grows in a protective case around the seeds of the plant. The plant is native to the tropical and subtropical regions of the world and is also found in America, Africa, Egypt and India.

The wild Cotton plants are found in Mexico, Australia and Africa. In India, 10 Indian states (Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan from the  North Zone; Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat from the Central Zone; and Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu from the South Zone) produces raw Cotton which are used in the Cotton textile industry and apart from this the raw Cotton is used in making fishing nets, coffee filters, tents, explosives, Cotton paper and bookbinding.

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The Cotton sector is the second most developed sector in the textile industry and India produces about 18% of the total Cotton production in the whole world which makes it the second largest producer after China. Approximately 351 lakh bales with 170kgs per bale is produced in 105 lakh hectares in India. It provides employment to both skilled and unskilled labourers which strengthens the country’s economy.

Types of Cotton

There are 3 types of Cotton available based on the length, strength and structure of its fibre. They are:

  • Long Staple Cotton – It is the longest fibre with length varying from 24 to 27mm. This fibre is long, shining and fine that is used to make superior quality of cloth. This fibre is widely produced in India with about half of total production and is the mostly used Cotton that comes at a low Kapas price. It is largely grown in Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Medium Staple Cotton – Its fibre length ranges between 20mm to 24 mm and almost 44% of the total production in India is the medium staple Cotton. The major states producing medium staple Cotton are Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Punjab, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. This is the second most used fibre in India that produces good quality clothes and is available at an economical price.
  • Short Staple Cotton – It is the shortest and inferior Cotton fibre whose length is less than 20mm and it manufactured inferior clothes at a low price. This contributes 6% of the total production and the main short staple producing states are Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab.

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Varieties/Cultivars of Cotton

There are 4 different species that are cultivated in India:

  • Gossypium arboreum – The Asiatic Cotton grown in Asia.
  • Gossypium herbaceum – The Asiatic Cotton grown in Asia.
  • Gossypium hirsutum – It grows in America and is known as American or upland Cotton. This variety contributes 90% of the global Cotton
  • Gossypium barbadense – This is called the Egyptian, Sea Island, Peruvian, Tanguish or Quality Cotton.

Some other hybrid varieties of Cotton that are grown commercially are :

  • MCU 7
  • MCU 12
  • MCU 13
  • LRA 5166
  • MCU 5 VT
  • Supriya
  • Anjali
  • Surabhi
  • Sumangala
  • Sruthi
  • K 11
  • Suvin
  • TCHB 213
  • SVPR 2
  • SVPR 3
  • KC 2
  • KC 3
  • SVR 4

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Factors Responsible for Cotton growth

Cotton is a cash crop which requires certain features or conditions for their optimal growth. They are:

  • A large sized favourable fertile Ganga delta region
  • Cheap labour in plentiful amount
  • Insecticides
  • Hybrid seeds like Sujata, Bharati
  • Favourable fertilisers

Climate & Soil Requirement for Cotton Production

The ideal climate for Cotton farming is hot & moist. It requires clear sunshine and proper moisture level during the boll formation. It can not thrive the moisture stress for more than 60 days to 120 days and it can result in less yield.

Sunshine and warm humid climate favour the growth of the Cotton crop. The ideal temperature for Cotton cultivation is 25°C with 150 to 200 cm rainfall and moisture. It requires an altitude of 1000 m above sea level and requires around 18 °C of temperature during the seed germination stage.

It requires medium black to deep black soil with a pH range between 6 to 8. Saline soil should be avoided for Cotton cultivation and the soil should have a proper drainage facility. However, the soil depth should not be less than 20 to 25 cm and you should go for the soil test before starting the cultivation process.

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Land / Soil Preparation

Flatbed is very important for Cotton cultivation and it can be done by ploughing and disc harrowing. It makes the soil particles in a fine structure. Soil should be well prepared by adding 4 to 5 tonnes of well composed farmyard manure or compost before the last harrowing and the soils that have termites or white grub, Neem cake @ 750-1000 kg per ha along with farmyard manure can be added to it.

Selection of Seeds

The seeds selected for Cotton cultivation should be certified and tested. Mostly delineated seed is preferred and the seed rate of 2.5 to 3 kg per hectare is used. The seeds are treated with Thiram or Bavistin before plantation and the extra seeds are utilised for filling the gaps. The seedlings are raised in polybags for filling the gaps and these are filled during the rainy season. Plantation between 7000 to 8000 per hectare is optimum for Cotton farming.

Spacing of Plants

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Each cultivar of the Cotton plant has a different spacing requirement but the common spacing is 20 to 100 cm between the Cotton plants. A planting density of about 70,000 plants per hectare in irrigated land and about 30,000 plants for dry land is expected to be raised.

Propagation methods

Cotton plants are propagated using the seeds and before sowing, they are effectively treated as:

  • The required quantity of seeds is taken in a bucket containing commercial sulphuric acid @100 ml per kg of seeds and is stirred vigorously using a wooden stick for 2 minutes until the fuzz on the seeds is removed and they get a coffee brown colour.
  • The acid water is then drained out by diluting it with water and the seeds are washed thoroughly; the diseased and floating seeds are removed and the healthy delineated seeds are dried in the shade which are then treated with suitable fungicides or biocontrol agents or biofertilizers. The seeds are then soaked in 1% of Pungam leaf extract for about 8 hours and dried to increase the vigour and germination ability.

Best Season for Cotton Cultivation

The planting season varies in various regions. The best season for Cotton plantation is before the onset of monsoon so that it gets the desired vegetative growth.

Manures & Fertilisers for Cotton Cultivation

The application of fertilisers is very important in the cultivation of Cotton and the major nutrients like Nitrogen, Potassium, Phosphorus and some trace elements like Iron, Boron, Magnesium, Sulphur and Zinc play an essential role in the production of Cotton.

A balanced and timely application of these nutrients produces better results. Cotton requires an abundant supply of available nutrients for high yielding varieties. Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium and Magnesium are the major nutrients that are essential for Cotton cultivation and on an average about 100-125 kg of Nitrogen, 60-75 kgs of Phosphorus pentoxide and 80 kgs of Potassium oxide per hectare are recommended. However, it is always advisable to collect the soil analysis report and then calculate the appropriate doses of the nutrients. For the basal dose, the entire dose of Potassium and Phosphorus is added and Nitrogen is added in 3-4 split doses.

The fertiliser is placed deep 4-5 cm inside the soil near the wetted area of the dripper. If the soil has Zinc deficiency then 50 kgs per hectare of Zinc sulphate is added as a basal dose and Magnesium and Urea is recommended to spray during the boll formation stage if required after 50-80 days of planting when the plants indicate redness in the leaves.

Crop Rotation

Crop rotation is very important in the Cotton cultivation and the Cotton should be followed by crops such as hybrid Sorghum, Sugarcane, Maize, Banana etc and Cotton should never be followed by a Cotton because it can increase pest and disease problems.

Intercultural practises

Weed control is very important during Cotton cultivation and it is done by hand hoeing or ploughing because it competes with the Cotton plants for nutrients, light and moisture and it should be controlled within 7 days of sowing because it can cause the yield loss of 50 to 85%, using weedicides.

After sowing the seeds, the gaps are filled on the 10th day by using the seedlings that are raised separately in Polythene bags. Mulching can also be done for irrigated Cotton.

Irrigation Requirement

Cotton plants are drought tolerant and produce a good yield even when there is less rainfall. But they grow well in areas where heavy rainfall is spread evenly throughout the year. The average annual rainfall required for the Cotton plants is 500-1250 mm and if the plants are grown as irrigated crops then the average requirement of water per crop is 35 to 45 inches.

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Irrigation is very essential during the flowering, boll growth and maturity stages. When the soil moisture content is depleted around 50% to 70% it should be irrigated. Sandy loam soil requires a minimum 3-4 irrigation cycles and Red Sandy loam soil requires 4-13 light irrigation cycles. However, it should be observed that the water requirement is low during the first 60 to 70 days of plant growth stage whereas, the highest during the flowering and boll development stage.

Pests & Diseases in Cotton Plants

Some of the common pests found in Cotton plants are:

  • Helicoverpa
  • Spider mites
  • Mirids
  • Aphids
  • Whitefly
  • Thrips
  • Bollworms

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These pests can be controlled by monitoring the plants regularly and using proper Insecticides and Weedicides to remove the weeds and insects. The insecticides should be sprayed only when the insects and the damage have reached the threshold level and use natural enemies to manage the insects and when the infestation is severe, chemical pesticides like Methyl demeton, Endosulfan and Triazophos are to be used in recommended quantities.

Some common diseases found in Cotton plants are:

  • Bacterial blight
  • Fungal leaf spot
  • Boll rot
  • Grey mildew
  • Root rot
  • Leaf curl
  • Leaf reddening

These diseases can be prevented by using disease resistant varieties of the Cotton crops and after harvesting the crop, their residues should be buried deep inside the soil. The seeds used for cultivation should be certified and disease free and proper humidity should be maintained with proper irrigation and sanitation in the field. Crop rotation should be done after every 3 to 4 years and recommended quantities of fungicides and weedicides should be used.

Harvesting & Yield

Cotton crop is ready to harvest after 6 months from planting. Harvesting is a labour intensive task of the whole process of Cotton cultivation and is the most expensive part too. It should be done at frequent intervals like 7 days and is done in the morning hours before 10 a.m.

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The Cotton is picked manually from the bolls of the plant that have completely burst open and the bracts should be left on the plant itself.

The bolls at the lower part of the plant should be picked first for avoiding the contamination and should be dried thoroughly before storing it and it should be sorted immediately such as bad or good, depending on its qualities to avoid mixing.

The average yield of Cotton plants is around 1200 to 1300 kgs per acre of land and around 1500 to 1600 kgs of seed Cotton.

Post Harvest

After harvesting Cotton is dried in shade immediately because it could change the colour of the Cotton. Direct drying in the sun should be avoided because the heat of the sun can degrade the strength and lustre of the fibre. It is put over a thin layer of sand by spreading it over the ground while sorting. The spinning of Cotton can be done using various new technologies available which could improve its grade and quality.

The Cotton grade is determined by its colour, leaf residue and preparation of Cotton after ginning. The quality of fibre in the Cotton is measured by an instrument called the ‘High volume instrument’. They are always stored in an open area after drying them and kept in plastic bags which is supported by the light metal framework.

Economics of Cotton Crop cultivation under Micro Irrigation (1 Acre)
A Variable Cost Operations Qty Rate Unit Amount
1 Primary tillage operations Tractor / Rotavator 4 1000 Hrs 4000
2 Seed & seedling preparations 10 1750 Set 17500
3 Weeding 10 300 Mandays 3000
4 FYM / Compost Composting 5 2000 Trolly 10000
5 Liquid Fertilizer Fertigation 1 6500 Set 6500
6 Conventional Fertilizer DAP + Urea + Potash 1 4500 Set 4500
7 Insecticides, Pesticides & Spraying 1 4500 Set 4500
8 Irrigation & Electricity 1 4000 Set 4000
9 Staking 0 0 0
10 Harvesting 15 300 Mandays 4500
11 Miscellaneous 1 3000 Set 3000
Total Variable cost 61500
B Fixed Cost
Investment on MIS 112500.00
a Interest on MIS value @ 18% 20250.00
b Depreciation @ 10% 11250.00
c Maintenance @ 5% 5625.00
Total Fixed Cost 37125.00
Total Cost (A+B) 98625.00
Description Yield Rate Amount
Cotton Yield Kg 1200 160 192000.00
Net Income 93375.00
Note: This is a tentative rate considered. This may change place to place.



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Cotton farming requires high initial investment but the profits are also very high so people can go for Cotton farming. They just need ideal conditions and proper farming methods for its cultivation to get the desired quantity and quality of the crop and they can even apply for loans and subsidies provided by the government.


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