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Maximising profitability with limited water in cotton farming systems

Payero, Jose (2010) Maximising profitability with limited water in cotton farming systems. Project Report. Cotton Catchment Communities CRC.

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Article Link(s): http://hdl.handle.net/1/247

Publisher URL: http://www.insidecotton.com/jspui/bitstream/1/247/1/10209_Final_Report_Payero.pdf

Abstract

Diminishing water supply, changing weather patterns and pressure to enhance environmental flows are making it imperative to optimise water use efficiency (WUE) on cotton/grain farming systems. Growers are looking for better strategies to make the best use of limited water, but it is still not clear how to best use the available water at farm and field scale. This research project investigated the impact of management strategies to deal with limited water supplies on the yield and quality of irrigated cotton and wheat. The objectives were: (1) to develop irrigation management guidelines for the main irrigated crops on the Darling Downs for full- and deficitirrigation scenarios, taking into account the critical factors that affect irrigation decisions at the local level, (2) to quantify the evapotranspiration (ET) of Bollgard II cotton and wheat and its relationship to yield and quality under full- and deficit-irrigation scenarios, and (3) to increase industry awareness and education of farming systems practises for optimised economic water use efficiency.Objective (1) was addressed by (A) collaborating with ASPRU to develop the APSFarm model within APSIM to be able to perform multi-paddock simulations. APSFarm was then tested by conducting a case study at a farm near Dalby, and (B) conducting semi-structured interviews with individual farmers and crop consultants on the Darling Downs to document the strategies they are using to deal with limited water. Objective (2) was addressed by (A) building and installing 12 large (1 m x 1m x 1.5 m) weighing lysimeters to measure crop evapotranspiration. The lysimeters were installed at the Agri-Science Queensland research station at Kingsthorpe in November 2008, (B) conducting field experiments to measure crop evapotranspiration and crop development under four irrigation treatments, including dryland, deficit-irrigation, and full irrigation. Field experiments were conducted with cotton in 2007-08 and 2008-09, and with wheat in 2008 and 2009, and (C) collaborating with USQ on a PhD thesis to quantify the impact of crop stress on crop evapotranspiration and canopy temperature. Glasshouse experiments were conducted with wheat in 2008 and with cotton in 2008-09. Objective (3) was addressed by (A) conducting a field day at Kingsthorpe in 2009, which was attended by 80 participants, (B) presenting information in conferences in Australia and overseas, (D) presenting information at farmers meeting, (E) making presentations to crop consultants, and (F) preparing extension publications.As part of this project we contributed to the development of APSfarm, which has been successfully applied to evaluate the feasibility of practices at the whole-farm scale. From growers and crop consultants interviews we learned that there is a great variety of strategies, at different scales, that they are using to deal with limited water situation. These strategies will be summarised in the &quote;Limited Water Guidelines for the Darling Downs&quote; that we are currently preparing. As a result of this project, we now have a state-of-the-art lysimeter research facility (23 large weighing lysimeters) to be able to conduct replicated experiments to investigate daily water use of a variety of crops under different irrigation regimes and under different environments. Under this project, a series of field and glasshouse experiments were conducted with cotton and wheat, investigating aspects like: (A) quantification of daily and seasonal crop water use under nonstressed and stressed conditions, (B) impact of row configuration on crop water use, (C) impact of water stress on yield, evapotranspiration, crop vegetative and reproductive development, soil water extraction pattern, yield and yield quality. The information obtained from this project is now being used to develop web-based tools to help growers make planning and day-to-day irrigation decisions.

Item Type:Monograph (Project Report)
Business groups:Crop and Food Science
Keywords:Final report
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural economics
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural meteorology. Crops and climate
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Methods and systems of culture. Cropping systems
Plant culture > Irrigation farming
Plant culture > Field crops
Plant culture > Field crops > Textile and fibre plants
Deposited On:10 Nov 2011 06:46
Last Modified:16 Feb 2016 04:59

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