What the heck is boll maturity and why does that even matter? Well, since I just found all of this out, you’re in luck!
Brad checks boll maturity by cutting bolls open. Even though they may look similar on the outside, the insides can be quite different. By what the boll looks like on the inside, Brad can tell if he needs to get ready to defoliate or not.
Because of the drought, farmers replanted a lot of cotton this year, so we have a couple of different ages in this one field. All three bolls he cut were in different stages of maturity.
It is also a bit darker around the seed – Brad is pointing to the dark with his knife. Plants with bolls like this are ready to be defoliated for harvest. After defoliation, the bolls open on up if they are ready like this one.
Comparison of the two: immature on the left, mature on the right.
The last one he picked was very immature. He squeezed it, and it juiced like a lemon.
The different ages in the field are due in part to the drought and having to replant. Brad will have to wait a bit more for the immature bolls to age more before he harvests this field.