COTTON (Gossypium spp)

COTTON (Gossypium spp)

Cotton is a fibre crop and belongs to the plant family called Malvaceae. It produces cotton lint, a white fibre used in textile industries.


Land Preparation: The land is cleared with cutlass or mechanically ploughed and harrowed to make it soft for planting of cotton seeds.


Varieties or Cultivars

Gossypium hirsitum, Gossypium vitifolium, Ishan type, samaru, Gossypium peruvianum (meko cotton).


Climatic and soil requirement: Cotton requires a temperature of 25°C – 35°C, rainfall of 65cm – 125cm per annum, abundant sunlight and a very rich, deep, loamy or clay-loamy soil.


Method of Propagation: By seeds.


Planting Date: Cotton is planted in June and July in Northern Nigeria.


Seedrate: 15 – 20kg/ha.


Planting: Four to five seeds are sown per stand. These are later thinned to two seedlings per stand at 3cm deep.


Cultural Practices

  • Weeding: This is done at regular intervals.
  • Fertilizer Application: Apply 125kg of super phosphate fertilizer at sowing time.
  • Mulching: This prevents evaporation and controls erosion.


Maturity period: Cotton matures within five to eight months after planting.


Harvesting: Matured fruits (bolls) are handpicked and sun-dried.


Processing: Cotton for export is taken to a cotton ginnery after being dried. The seeds are then separated from the line which is made into bales of 180 kg either by hand or by bailing machines. The seeds are also packed for export.


Storage: Cotton is placed in sack containers and kept in dry place.


Pests of Cotton

1) Cotton stainer (Dysdercus spp): It feeds on the contents of the boll and also transmits bacterial and fungal diseases. They stain the lints.



  • By handpicking the insects and regular spraying with insecticides.


2) Boll worms: The caterpillars (larvae) eat their way into the boll and spoil the lint.


  • This is done by handpicking.
  • Destruction of infected plants.


Diseases of Cotton

1) Bacteria blight: It is caused by a bacterium. Symptoms include angular spots which appear on the leaves and branches.


  • It is by seed dressing.
  • Destroy and burn infected plants.
  • Grow resistant varieties.


2) Leaf curl: It is caused by a virus transmitted by an insect. Affected leaves become twisted, mottled, vein clearing and curl at the margin.


  • Plant resistant varieties
  • Destroy infected plants by burning.


3) Damping-off: It is caused by a fungus which is spread through the soil. Cells of seedling become waterlogged, resulting in the death of the plants.


  • Practise crop rotation
  • Grow resistant varieties.

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