Most growers face a significant challenge for producing greater quality yield with low amount of input and cost. Water availability continues to diminish and irrigation cost rise rapidly, while crop nutrients are costly and should be used in precise amount to meet crop needs. The experiment was conducted at Agricultural Research Council Experimental Station in Rustenburg, South Africa to determine the influence of Zeba on cotton yield, growth response, moisture conservation and nutrients usage. Trial design was randomised complete block design in factorial experiment with four replicates, 2 cultivars (Deltaopal and and Nuopal), 3 Zeba rates (0, 5 and 10 kgha-1, and 3 Nitrogen rates (0, 75 and 150 kgha-1). Cotton seed yield was high at 5 kgha-1 Zeba compared to at 0 and 10 kgha-1 Zeba application across all Nitrogen rates. This attributed to 57% and 30% higher than at 0 and 10 kgha-1 Zeba applications respectively. Total moisture conserved in the treatments, increased with increase in Zeba application rate. At 164 DAP, soil moisture was higher in 5 and 10 kgha-1 Zeba applications with 34% and 50% compared to at 0 kgha-1 respectively. Growth response was significantly different between Nitrogen rates and Zeba application rates. Zeba application has shown a potential to increase soil moisture conservation,nutrients use efficiency and cotton seed yield at low water quantity and fertilizer cost. However, Zeba superabsorbent polymer should not be applied in larger quantities of 10 kgha-1 to prevent waterlogging of the root zone during continuous high rainfall seasons.
Keywords: Cotton cultivars, Nitrogen, yield and Zeba