Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cotton Elementary: Boll Maturity

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!

boll maturity (3)

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.

boll maturity (13)These two look very similar on the outside.

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.

boll maturity (7)The one on the left is mature. It is drier on the inside with cotton fibers. It was difficult to cut (because of the cotton fibers – think sawing a t-shirt in half).

boll maturity (8)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.

boll maturity (10)The one on the right has more moisture on the inside, it was easier to cut open (few to no cotton fibers) and there is no dark ring around the seeds. This boll is not ready.

boll maturity (14)

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.

boll maturity (15)It’s there on the right. You can tell the differences among the three in this picture.

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.

Learn more about cotton in other Cotton Elementary posts or see our watermelon operation in Watermelon Elementary.


AA said...

Love this stuff!! I cant believe it juices like a lemon. Crazy!