The Indian Council of Agricultural Research has been conducting research for improvement both in terms of yield and quality of the fiber in the cotton plant (particularly in long staple varieties).
Breeding in long staple cotton:
The main objectives of breeding in long staple cotton are increase of the mean length of the fiber (28.4mm), better spinning quality and higher ginning percentage. Other desired traits in this plant are resistance to Jassid and early maturity.
The mean fiber length of some varieties is given below -H 14- 23.7 mm. H183 – 27.3 mm, H162 – 29.1 mm. Of these three – H 183 and H 162 also give a higher yield than H 14 (grown in Haryana).
Another variety H 183 -13 (H14 x AC138) has a mean fiber length of 28-2 mm. sympodial in its habit and matures earlier than HI4.
Variety 320F cultivated in the Abohar region of Punjab has a mean fibre length of 24.4mm. There are some local varieties A231 and 218, which have a mean fibre length of 28.4 mm and they also have a higher yield than 320F. A231 has a much branched shoot system and it also matures early and thus escapes frost.
Resistance to Jassid is another quality that plant breeders look for in cotton. A new variety J34 evolved as a result of a cross between 45F x L55 is under cultivation in Punjab and Haryana. F34 also has a higher yield than 320F. Several other strains of Jseriesare J124, J135, J136, J140, J148 etc are under experimental cultivation and they seem to be quite promising.
Breeding in short staple cotton:
There are two principal objectives in the breeding program for the desi varieties of cotton. These are – a) To obtain harsh staples with increased yield and ginning capacity b) to obtain high yield as well as good lint.
The normal variety of desi cotton cultivated is 231R. New varieties G1 and G27 have proved to be better yielding than 231R. These two varieties are short stature, much branching and have a rough fiber.
Among G1 and G27 the latter seems to be more promising due to its higher yield than the other two varieties. The plants of G27 mature early, resistant to water logging and pink boll worm. The lint is also of a very high quality. G57 is another high ‘yielding variety of cotton.