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Chinese researchers contributing to Texas cotton improvement
Aug '15
Courtesy: Texas A&M Agri Life Research and Extension Center
Courtesy: Texas A&M Agri Life Research and Extension Center
Researchers from China are collaborating with a crop eco-physiologist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Uvalde toward the goal of improving cotton production in south central Texas, AgrilLife said in a press statement.

“We are working together to gain a better understanding of the water-soil-plant dynamics of cotton production in this region,” said Dr. Xuejun Dong, the Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist working with three Chinese researchers visiting the center.

“Many challenges we encounter in this area of Texas are similar to those encountered in cotton-producing areas of China,” Dong said. “We invited these researchers to share ideas and connect through similar research interests.”

According to the Texas Department of Agriculture, cotton, corn and wheat crops contribute more than $3 billion annually to the state's economy.

“In this region of Texas, irrigation is vital to the sustained production of these major agronomic crops,” said Dr. Daniel Leskovar, center director and an AgriLife Research vegetable physiologist. “One of the critical issues we need to address is the water-use efficiency of these crops and how to adopt better irrigation management strategies. To accomplish this, we need a better understanding of soil-crop water relations and the physiological processes and crop traits that regulate crop water use.”

Dong said crops in the Texas Winter Garden and nearby areas are often faced with harsh environmental conditions.

“I am interested in studying the response of cotton plants to limited water use and drought stress,” Dong said.

Dong said this research was also of interest to Dr. Yongjiang Zhang, a plant physiologist from Hebei Agricultural University, who has been at the center since January 20 and will return to China in January 2016.

“We have been investigating water use and root development in cotton crops,” Dong said. “This sort of data will be important toward developing models to determine crop water use over the entire growing season of cotton crops.”

In April, Zhang made a presentation on cotton physiology research being done at Hebei Agricultural University at the Uvalde center's auditorium. The presentation was attended by dozens of researchers and individuals from the area involved in production agriculture.

Another visiting professor, Dr. Jianchu Shi, a soil physicist from China Agricultural University in Beijing, arrived July 20 and will work at the centre until October 8.

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