California Crop Fertilization Guidelines

UC Davis
A collaboration between CDFA, FREP and UC Davis

Cotton Nitrogen Uptake and Partitioning

The Fertilization guidelines can also be found on the UC Davis Nutrient Management website .

Seasonal N Uptake

Season N Uptake Curve Graph

Nitrogen uptake of cotton grown in Fresno and Kings County was determined by harvesting the aboveground biomass at different times during cotton development. Cotton plants took up little N until they reached the early square stage. Most N was taken up between the early square and peak bloom stage [2].

Nitrogen Partitioning

Nitrogen partitioning pie chart

Measured immediately before defoliation, more than half of the aboveground N of Accala cotton was in the seeds. Nitrogen in the fiber and burs accounted for about 15% [2].

Nitrogen Removed at Harvest

Nitrogen removed with harvested corron lint and seed. The overall average is weighted for the number of observations in each trial. More information can be found here [3].

Location Years Removal (lbs N/ton lint and seed) Source
    Mean Range  
California 1998-2000 47.3 26.3 - 63.2 [1, 2]
California 1999-2000 33.1 23.3 - 41 [1 ,2]
Israel 1980-85 47.4 39.5 - 54.5 [4]
Greece 2008-09 44.8 43 - 46.4 [6]
Syria 2011 32.6 30.5 - 35.1 [5]
Weighted Average 43.7 23.3 - 63.2  



  1. Fritschi, F.B., Roberts, B.A., Travis, R.L., Rains, D.W., Hutmacher, R.B., 2003. Response of irrigated Acala and Pima cotton to nitrogen fertilization: growth, dry matter partitioning, and yield. Agronomy Journal 95, 133-146.
  2. Fritschi, F.B., Roberts, B.A., Travis, R.L., Rains, D.W., Hutmacher, R.B., 2004. Seasonal nitrogen concentration, uptake, and partitioning pattern of irrigated Acala and Pima cotton as influenced by nitrogen fertility level. Crop Science 44, 516-527.
  3. Geisseler, D., 2016. Nitrogen concentrations in harvested plant parts -A literature overview. Report to the Kings River Watershed Coalition.
  4. Halvey, J. 1976. Growth rate and nutrient uptake of two cotton cultivars grown under irrigation. Agronomy Journal 68, 701-705.
  5. Janat, M., 2008. Response of Cotton to Irrigation Methods and Nitrogen Fertilization: Yield Components, Water-Use Efficiency, Nitrogen Uptake, and Recovery, Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 39, 2282-2302.
  6. Stamatiadis, S., Tsadilas, C., Samaras, V., Schepers, J.S., Eskridge, K., 2016. Nitrogen uptake and N-use efficiency of Mediterranean cotton under varied deficit irrigation and N fertilization. European Journal of Agronomy 73, 144-151.