Monitoring Cotton Growth

After stand establishment, it is necessary to monitor the growth rate of cotton to determine whether or not a cotton field is making acceptable progress. Although growth and development will vary from area to area, the rate of development is related to degree days and should be fairly constant. When growers and consultants monitor and record DD60s, they make more accurate estimations of growth and development deviations from acceptable growth in their fields.


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DD60s are a measure of the energy available for growth. This equation is accurate whenever the minimum temperature is greater than the lower threshold (60 ̊F).


Growth Stages Indicated By Accumulation of DD60s and Days

From planting to emergence741050-60
From emergence to first fruiting brand242127300-340
From emergence to first square322738425-475
From emergence to first white bloom555060825-875
From emergence to peak bloom9085951385-1435
From emergence to open boil1101051151700-1750
From emergence to 60% open boils1401351452180-2230

Certain events in the growth of cotton occur at a set number of DD60s after planting. Although there is some minor variability between varieties, most varieties are similar enough that a table of growth stages as related to DD60s can be developed. Remember that varieties will vary slightly, and environmental conditions (such as water stress and fertility levels will also impact growth.


This article is from the Cotton Management Guide, a publication with year-round advice on managing high-yielding cotton. Download the Deltapine Cotton Management Guide now or sign up for new content to be delivered to your email each month.​​​


Click here to learn about cotton growth physiology.