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Plant Hormone Increases Cotton Yields in Drought Conditions

A naturally occurring class of plant hormones called cytokinins has been found to help increase cotton yields during drought conditions. Cytokinins promote cell division and growth in plants. In cotton, cytokinins stimulate the growth of the main plant stem and branches. Application of cytokinins to cotton crops can increase yields in water-limited environments with reduced irrigation or no irrigation. Young cotton seedlings have small root systems, making it difficult for them to reach available soil water. Cytokinins trick the young plant's water stress defenses, prompting the plant to quickly build a bigger root system to access deep soil moisture. They also stimulate the growth of a protective wax on the surface of the plant that helps reduce water loss. Thus, application of cytokinins produced a 5 to 10 percent increase in yields under water-reduced conditions. Additionally, cytokinins didn't help or hinder yields under fully irrigated or rainy conditions, making it safe for use in all weather environments. There is also no extra work involved for the grower because cytokinins can be applied when conducting normal weed-management practices early in the season. To be effective, the cytokinins should be applied at a relatively low concentration to cotton seeds or to cotton plants at an early stage of development.

 

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Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.