Development of a plant-based method for cotton cultivar maturity classification
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Maturity is a significant part of cotton production and can affect yield, quality, and suitability to an environment. However, maturity characteristics are often measured independently of actual fruiting site locations on cotton plants. The purpose of this study was to define maturity of multiple cultivars based on fruit distribution and compare these measurements with in-season plant maturity estimates. Field experiments were conducted in 2010-2011 with seven cotton cultivars in a randomized complete block design with four replications in two locations. Measurements of in-season nodes above white flower and end-of-season boll distribution were used to determine cultivar maturity characteristics. Cultivars showed consistent nodes above white flower maturity ranking characteristics between environments in 2011, but differed in 2010. However, relative maturity of the cultivars based on boll distribution was consistent over all of the environments tested in 2010 and 2011. Our results suggest that maturity comparisons between cultivars are more accurately performed using boll distribution than nodes above white flower.