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American Sesame Growers Association


Cotton pivot with sesame in dryland corner.
Cotton pivot with sesame in dryland corner.

Sesame and Cotton

Effects on cotton root rot and nematodes

Farmers in Arizona and Texas have reported that cotton following sesame has significantly less cotton root rot (Phymatotrichopsis omnivora) the following year.

Researchers at Texas A&M and Auburn University have found that sesame reduces nematode populations, particularly the root knot nematode that attacks peanuts and cotton.

Soil improvements after sesame

Sesame is an excellent soil builder.  Roots have as much mass as the visible plant.  Stalks disc into soil easily and break down quickly.  Soil is very mellow and requires less work for next crop.  Tilth and moisture retention is improved.

Farmers walking across split planted fields can feel how much more mellow the ground is after sesame.

Farmers ripping diagonally across fields with cotton, sesame and sorghum, have been able to operate one gear higher on the sesame ground.

Farmers listing across pivots have to raise the lister when on sesame ground.

In high erosion areas, ground after sesame does not blow as much.  It appears that the mucilage in the sesame leaves binds the ground.  However, sesame does not have enough residue to qualify as a high residue crop.

Farmers report that after sesame, the soil retains moisture better for planting the next crop.

In dry years after sesame, in split planted fields, corn and cotton do not show as much stress after sesame.  The soil retains moisture better.

Cotton after sesame

Many farmers have incorporated sesame into their cotton rotation because it:

·   Increases yield.

·   Suppresses populations of root knot nematodes.

·   Is not susceptible to cotton root rot.

·   Extends limited water so that farmer can concentrate on water for cotton.

One cotton farmer who has grown sesame since 1991 has said, "When I start counting bolls, I can find to the row where the sesame was the previous year.  When I defoliate, everyone can see to the row where the sesame was the previous year."

With early warm weather or delayed planting date, sesame can volunteer in cotton.

·   The cotton grade has never been affected and volunteers have rarely bothered pickers or strippers.

  ·   Farmers easily control sesame in Roundup Ready® cotton.  Sesame is extremely susceptible to glyphosate.

  ·   In most years the sesame will not come through Caparol®.