Cotton Cultivation Project Report, Farming Cost, Profit

Introduction to Cotton Cultivation Project Report:

The following information is about Cotton Cultivation Project Report, Farming Cost, and Profits.

Cotton is a fiber growing in a protective case around the seeds of the plant belonging to the Malvaceae family. This plant is considered a shrub native to tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Apart from these, it is also found growing in America, Africa, Egypt, and India. Wild cotton plants are found in Mexico, Australia, and Africa. Cotton is the main component used by the textile industry to make several products like terry cloth, corduroy, seersucker, yarn, and cotton twill. Other than the textile industry, cotton is also used in making fishing nets, coffee filters, tents, explosives, cotton paper, and bookbinding. Cotton in India is one of the most important fibers and cash crops which contributes heavily to the industrial and agricultural economy of the country. There are 10 Indian states divided into different zones which produce raw cotton, they are north zone (Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan), central zone (Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Gujarat), and south zone (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu).

This Cotton cultivation project report discusses the methods of cotton cultivation and at the end, it gives details about the investment required to farm cotton on 1 hectare of land and the profits linked to it.

Scope and Importance of Cotton

Cotton in India is produced over approximately 105 lakh hectares with an annual yield of around 351 lakh bales (170 kgs of each bale). The cotton sector is the second most developed sector in the textile industry and cotton production in India is around 18% of the world production that makes it the second-largest cotton cultivating country after China. This sector generates huge employment opportunities for both skilled and unskilled labor, thereby contributing to strengthening the country’s economy. It is estimated that 60 million people of which 4.5 million farmers in India depend on cotton cultivation for their livelihood.

Indian cotton is famous in the market because it produces 4 different species of cotton that has better-spun quality. Also, India is the only country producing all counts of cotton ranging from 1 s to 81 s and above. To address the problems of cotton cultivators in India, the Government has launched a program ‘Technology Mission on Cotton’ which aims at improving production technology, reduce the cost of cultivation, develop market yards and modernize the ginning and pressing factories. Apart from these initiatives, there have been schemes launched for the development of the cotton industry like a supply of certified seeds, water management, improved processing, availability of clean and modernized factories, farmer education, encouraging organic cultivation, and other services as required or demanded by the farmers. To eliminate the risk of cotton cultivation, another initiative called ‘Contract Farming’ is being popular among cotton cultivators which involve producers, agencies, input suppliers, technology providers, and insurance agencies to get involved in the business and create a win-win situation for all.

The cotton sector with many other programs and schemes is trying to increase its production to meet the projected requirement of the textile industry and also aims to strengthen the economy by increasing the quality export of cotton. It is being expected that the cotton economy would continue to grow at a healthy pace, creating employment for many and contributing positively to the country’s GDP.

Cultivars or varieties of Cotton

Four different species of cotton are cultivated in India; they are Gossypium arboretum, G. herbaceum, G. hirsutum and G. barbadense. The first two are known to be Asiatic cotton because they are grown in Asia and the G. hirsutum cotton is called American or upland cotton, whereas the G. barbadense is called the Egyptian, Sea Island, Peruvian, tanguish or quality cotton. 90% of the global production is of the G. hirsutum variety. Other than these there are some hybrid varieties developed in India and are commercially grown in different regions such as MCU 7, MCU 12, MCU 13, LRA 5166, MCU 5 VT, Supriya, Anjali, Surabhi, Sumangala, Sruthi, K 11, Suvin, TCHB 213, SVPR 2, SVPR 3, KC 2, KC 3, SVR 4, etc.

Cotton plant and its properties

Cotton Plant.
Cotton Plant.

The cotton plant is considered to have a single main stem with 12 to 16 fruiting branches and a leaf at each node (approximately 16 to 22 nodes). The branches used for vegetative propagation are produced at the lower part of the plant and the reproductive branches are produced at the higher end of the plant or on the vegetative branch. The reproductive branches are short and end with a flower bud.

The leaves of the plant are large, hairy, and palmately lobed. The flowers are showy with five sepals united to form a cuplike calyx. The flowers have five petals that are either yellow or white in color in the beginning and turn pink with age. Pollination in the plant generally occurs in the afternoon. The bud of the cotton plant is square in shape and increases in size as the fruit develops and protrudes beyond the bracts.

This plant has tap roots that can reach up to a depth of 10 inches at 3 weeks’ age. The roots grow very fast and are twice the length of the plant during the early stages of growth. When the plant starts setting bolls, the growth of roots slows down.

  1. hirsutum and G barbadense
  • Plant height is 4-5 ft
  • The span length is 28 to 30 mm
  • The duration of the crop is 130-225 days
  • The total ginning percentage is 36 to 37%
  1. herbaceum and G. arboretum
  • Plant height is 5-9 ft
  • The span length is 24 to 28 mm
  • The duration of the crop is 153 to 250 days
  • The total ginning percentage is 24 to 36%

Soil and Climate requirements for growing Cotton

Cotton plants need deep, fertile, sandy loam soils with good drainage facilities for proper growth and development. Only sandy soil or clay soil is not suitable for cotton cultivation because there is a problem with seed germination. The depth of the soil should be around one meter or more and there should be no impenetrable layers otherwise there would be no proper root development resulting in poor yield. The soil for cotton cultivation should not be alkaline or saline and also should not have drainage issues. the pH of the soil is not considered very important, but the 5.5 to 7.5 pH scale is considered best for cotton. Aluminum concentration in the soil is harmful for cotton cultivation. Other soil types which are suitable for cotton are red, light red, ashy, and brackish soil.

Cotton Plantation Field.
Cotton Plantation Field.

It is already known that cotton is a tropical and day-long crop. This crop can also be cultivated at an altitude of 1000 m above sea level. During the seed germination, the minimum expected temperature of the soil is around 18˚C. The optimum temperature range for crop growth is found to be above 25˚C. Temperatures below 20˚C during flowering and boll phases would result in slow growth. The seedling should be protected from cold weather conditions otherwise this would affect the fiber quality and yield.

The minimum annual rainfall in the cotton cultivation area should be around 50 cm with heavy showers during boll formation.

Propagation methods of Cotton

Seeds are used for the propagation of cotton plants and before sowing, the seeds have to be effectively treated in the following manner:

  • All the required quantities of seeds are put into a bucket containing commercial sulphuric acid @ 100 ml per kg of seeds. They are stirred vigorously and continuously with a wooden stick for 2 minutes until the fuzz on the seeds is removed and the seeds attain a coffee brown color.
  • Drain the acid water by diluting it with water and wash the seeds thoroughly. It is advised to remove all the diseased and floating seeds. All the healthy delinted seeds are then dried in the shade.
  • These delinted dried seeds are treated with suitable fungicides. Else, treat the delinted seeds with bio-control agents and bio-fertilizers.
  • The seeds should be soaked in 1% pungam leaf extract for about 8 hours and then dried to increase the vigour and germination ability of the seeds.

Land preparation and planting

Before planting the seedling or seeds, the land has to be properly ploughed and harrowed to aerate the seedbed, improve saturation and incorporate large quantities of plant residue into the soil. Since the cotton plant is a deep-rooted crop, it needs a fine soil base for proper germination and plant growth. While ploughing the land, all the stubbles and previous crop matter or residues have to be removed from the fields. The soil should have low water status for efficient and effective cultivation of cotton.

The quality of the end product depends greatly on the planting time. Too early or too late planting may reduce the quality of the fiber. In the south of India, cotton seeds are sown in the month of April, and in the northern states, cotton seeds are sown in the month of May. 3 to 6 seeds of the selected cultivar are sown into a hole of a depth of 0.25 cm. Ridges around the farm are created for proper drainage and conservation of water. Each cultivar has a different spacing requirement, but the common spacing used for cotton plants is 20 to 100 cm between plants. With these spacing recommendations, a planting density of 70,000 plants per hectare in an irrigated land and 30,000 plants for dry land is expected.

Manure and fertilizer requirement

Fertilizer application to cotton plants is very important for higher yield and crop development. As nitrogen fertilizer has a great influence on the yield of the crop, it is initially incorporated into the soil during planting or sowing seeds and then it is re-applied several times in split doses. Total nitrogen required by the plants in one hectare of land is 140 kgs for rain-fed conditions and 200 kgs for irrigation conditions. The application of phosphorous encourages even the splitting of the boll and improves the soil quality. The minimum phosphorous and potassium required by one hectare of land for cotton cultivation is half of the nitrogen. Potassium in the soil helps in respiration, photosynthesis, and carbohydrate metabolism. Potassium absorption would be reduced if the soil is not properly aerated.

An additional supply of 12.5 kgs of micronutrient mixture is recommended by the agriculture department for a better quality crop. The deficiency of zinc is supplemented by adding 50 kg/ha of ZnSO₄ as a basal dose. If the plants indicate redness in the leaves, then a supplement of magnesium, zinc, and urea is applied as a foliar spray after 50 to 80 days of planting. If required, a recommended foliar spray of magnesium and urea is supplied during the boll formation stage.

Irrigation requirements

Basically, cotton plants are considered to be drought-tolerant and produce a good yield even in scanty rainfall areas with an average annual rainfall of less than 500 mm. However, cotton crops grow well in areas with heavy rainfall spread evenly throughout the year. The average annual rainfall needed by the cotton plants is 500 to 1250 mm. If cotton plants are being grown as irrigated crops, then the average water requirement per crop is 35 to 45 inches. Irrigation is essentially required during flowering and boll growth and maturity stages. Irrigation cycles should be spaced such that the soil moisture content is depletion is around 50-70%. Sandy loam soils require a minimum of 3-4 irrigation cycles, whereas red sandy loam soils require 4-13 light irrigation cycles. It should be carefully observed that water requirement is low during the first 60-70 days of plant growth, but is found to be the highest during the flowering and boll development.

Pest and disease management of Cotton Crop

Common insect pests that cause damage to the cotton plants are Helicoverpa, spider mites, mirids, aphids, whitefly, thrips, bollworms, etc. some control measures for avoiding the infestation are:

  • Monitoring the plants regularly.
  • Weed removal along field boundaries.
  • Avoiding the use of a broad spectrum of insecticides.
  • Spraying the insecticides only when the insects and damage have reached the threshold level.
  • A strategy of area-wide management is developed so that the whitefly does not migrate to successive plantings.
  • Natural enemies are used to managing the insects.
  • When the infestation is severe, then chemical pesticides like methyl demeton, endosulfan, and triazophos are used in recommended quantities.

Common diseases found on cotton plants are bacteria blight, fungal leaf spot, boll rot, grey mildew, root rot, leaf curl, and leaf reddening. Preventive and control measures for these diseases are:

  • Using disease-resistant varieties of cotton crops.
  • Burying the crop residue deep into the soil after harvest.
  • Using certified and disease-free seeds.
  • Maintaining proper humidity in the plant canopy and allowing the foliage to dry after irrigation.
  • Good field sanitation.
  • Crop rotation for 3-4 years.
  • Cultivating early maturing varieties.
  • Weed control.
  • Proper use of the recommended quantity of fungicide.

Intercultural practices

Weed control is an important activity during cotton cultivation and is done by hand hoeing or ploughing. Weeds compete directly with cotton plants for nutrients, light, and moisture, and these should be controlled within 70 days of sowing. If unchecked, weeds can cause a yield loss of 50 to 85%.

Gap filling is done on the 10th day after sowing the seeds. Seedlings are raised separately in polyethylene bags with the proper quantity of FYM and they are dibbled into the holes in the farm on the 10th day. One seedling per hole is filled else 3 or 4 seeds per hole and filled and watered.

The seedlings should be thinned on the 15th day of sowing such that each hole has one seedling for fertile soil and 2 seedlings for poor soil conditions.

50% of required nitrogen and potassium for that particular variety of crops should be applied as a top dressing. If the plant is a hybrid variety, then top dressing is done with a 1/3rd dose of recommended nitrogen dose.

The ridges and furrows created in the farm should be reformed after the first dressing such that the plant is at the top and is well supported by the soil.

After the plant attains 60 to 90 days age, it is recommended to spray Naphthalene Acetic acid to prevent early shedding of buds and squares.

Crops that are of 160 days duration should have the terminal portion removed beyond the 15th node and for crops of duration more than 160 days, the terminal portion beyond the 20th node should be removed (pinched).

Harvesting and yield of Cotton

The crop is ready for harvest after 6 months from planting. It is a labor-intensive task and is considered to be the most expensive part of cotton cultivation. Harvesting should be done at frequent intervals, say around 7 days. The process should be done in the morning hours before 10 am. Cotton should be picked manually from bolls that have completely burst open. The bracts should be left on the plant. The bolls at the lower part of the plant should be picked first to avoid contamination. Before storing the cotton it must be dried thoroughly. The cotton depending on its quality should be sorted immediately, i.e. bad cotton and good cotton should not be mixed.

The average yield of cotton per acre of land is around 400-500 kgs of lint and 1400-1600 kgs of seed cotton.

Post-harvest management

Cotton is dried in shade immediately after picking otherwise the color of cotton would change. Direct sun drying is to be avoided because the heat of the sun may degrade the fiber strength and lustre. Cotton is put over a thin layer of sand spread over the ground while sorting.

Cotton spinning is done by the use of various new technologies to improve its grade and fiber quality. The grade of cotton is determined by three factors like color, leaf residue, and preparation of cotton after ginning. There is an instrument to measure the quality of fiber in raw cotton and is generally called a high volume instrument.

Cotton should always be stored in an open area after being dried completely. Plastic bags are used as containers for holding cotton and are often supported by a light metal framework.

Loans and subsidies for Cotton Cultivation Project Report

The government of India has a centrally sponsored scheme of Technology Mission of cotton through which it aims to increase the production and productivity of cotton. This scheme initially started with 13 states and the share of funding is 75: 25 between central and state governments respectively. Under this scheme, the farmers were assisted in technology transfer, training on the use of certified seeds, bioagents, etc., and management of water through different irrigation systems.

The National Food Security Mission for commercial crops was developed to fund cotton-producing states for increasing their production of cotton and the share of funding was 60:40 for normal states and 90:10 for hilly regions and northeastern states.

There is another scheme also for cotton development under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) to support farmers for cotton cultivation but the exact allocation of funds is different for all the states.

These programs were implemented in the past few years and it is advisable to check with the concerned government agencies to know the exact details of the schemes before actually implementing the business strategy.

Cost and profit analysis of Cotton Cultivation

The estimation of investment for an acre of land is detailed here. The original values may differ from the values mentioned here, depending on the area of cultivation and the cost of the material. The report also doesn’t mention charges related to transport, electricity, land and building costs, etc. because they are highly unreliable and are subject to change at any moment. The basic things required for farming and the costs related to them are listed here for reference.

Economics Of Cotton Cultivation.
Economics Of Cotton Cultivation.

Assumptions of Cotton Cultivation Project Report:

Cost of cotton seeds: Rs 740 per 450 g.

The charge of labor: Rs 300 per man-day.

Cost of animal labor: Rs 250 per pair.

Cost of machine power: Rs 600 per hour.

Cost of manure per kg: Rs 15.

Cost of fertilizers per kg: Rs 100.

Material and labour

 

 

Investment in Rs per acre
Machine power @ 5 hours 3,000.00
Animal labour @  28 hours 7,000.00
10 kgs of cotton seeds for planting 16,445.00
Cost of FYM (17 quintals) 25,500.00
Cost of fertilizers (96 kgs) 9,600.00
Cost of pesticides and insecticides 3,000.00
Irrigation charges 35,000.00
Labour for land preparation, weeding, sowing, harvesting, etc. (67 man-days) 20,100.00
Farm fencing 20,000.00
Other miscellaneous charges 10,000.00
Total 1,49,645.00

The yield of cotton from the farm (1 acre): 1184 kgs (32 maunds).

The sale price of cotton per kg: Rs 160.

Income from the farm: Rs 1, 89,440.

Profit from the farm is Rs 39,795.

In case if you are interested in this: How To Grow Organic Lettuce.

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