110 anniversary of Academician Ivan Maksimenko, who selected fine-staple cotton varieties

Medium-staple cotton varieties were traditionally cultivated in Turkmenistan given the local conditions. More than 90% of cotton field were allocated to the medium-staple variety.

The first studies on planting fine-staple cotton varieties in oasis grounds started about a hundred years ago. At first, experiments were held on test areas, and, starting from the 1930s, the selective seed-production work was carried out. Scientific research offered a powerful incentive to the development of the most important industry of the agro-industrial sector, which represents today an extensive network of agro-industrial enterprises - cotton and seed farms, ginning, cotton spinning and textile factories, oil production industry.

Scientists significantly contributed to the development of cotton industry. One of them is the Doctor of Biological Sciences, Academician Ivan Maksimenko – the author of valuable varieties of fine-staple cotton, as well as cultural forms of experimental cotton with self-coloured variety.

The seminar dedicated to the history and important aspects of the cotton industry development in Turkmenistan was held to mark the 110th birth anniversary of the scientist celebrated on February 23. The meeting took place in the scientific cotton-growing centre in Iolotan, Mary Velayat, where the scientist worked. The oldest scientific base of the country that specializes in cotton production successfully operates there, in the southeastern region of Turkmenistan. Today, young specialists representing the departments of agronomical practices as well as selection and seed production affiliated to the Scientific Research Agricultural Institute at the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Industry of Turkmenistan continue the work of I. Maksimenko.

Within the framework of the meeting, the scientists discussed the methods of selection, preservation of innate characters of cotton, its combining ability, pest-resistance and spontaneous variability culture. Much attention was paid to the technique of the crop variety testing, seed preservation, other aspects of the genetics and biochemistry aimed at selecting new varieties, hybrids and forms. Scientists and graduate students presented reports and the meeting participants discussed the most advanced achievements and ongoing research, and specified the plans for the future.

“With very passing year, selectionists in Iolotan test areas receive good results”, - said the deputy director of the Institute of Agriculture at the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Industry of Turkmenistan Ph.D, Biology Davletmurad Berdimuradov. “In 1939-1976, I. Maksimenko selected 5476-I, 8763-I, 9078-I high-yielding varieties of fine-staple cotton. His work was continued by students - D.Babaev, A.Hudaykuliyev, V.P.Semenchenko. For example, Ash-25 fine-staple cotton variety selected by D. Babayev was sown on 242,5oo hectares in 1984. Cotton variety 9871-I, which was selected by candidate of agricultural sciences V.P. Semenchenko, was sown on 137,200-hectare area in 1990. Due to the high quality of fiber and more favorable purchasing prices of raw cotton, these varieties became very popular in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

Ash-36 medium-staple cotton variety produced by Doctor of Agricultural Sciences. A. Hudaykuliyev, sown for the first time in 1989, is sown over large areas in Ahal and Lebap regions. This variety is remarkable for a high yield, early maturity and high fiber quality. Eloten-7 medium-staple variety selected by V.P.Semenchenko occupies 45% of the cotton-sown area.

In recent years, the areas sown with the new varieties of medium-staple cotton, selected by Turkmen scientists have significantly expanded. Among them is Eloten-39, which is capable to produce 50-55 tons of cotton per hectare. The Eloten-14 cotton variety is remarkable for high productivity.

Young scientists continue theoretical and practical legacy of prominent scientists, using a variety of hybridization techniques. Selection and introduction of high-yield and high-quality cotton varieties contribute to the dynamic development and high profitability of the industry. The international European expert organizations – OMAC (Otherways - Management & Consulting) and BID (Business Initiative Directions) presented the golden and platinum awards to the cotton-growing centre of the country for high performances.