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Simulating the efficiency and resilience of diverse crop sequences in Australia’s subtropical cropping zone

Whish, J., Bell, L., DeVoil, P., Zull, A. and Thornby, D. (2019) Simulating the efficiency and resilience of diverse crop sequences in Australia’s subtropical cropping zone. In: Proceedings of the 2019 Agronomy Australian Conference, 25 – 29 August 2019, Wagga Wagga, Australia.

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Article Link(s): http://www.agronomyconference.com/2019-home

Abstract

Farming systems in Australia’s subtropics have been under-performing. This study used simulation modelling to evaluate common crop sequences used in subtropical Australia in terms of their system water-use-efficiency (WUE) and resilience to climate variability. The analysis here examines this for 4 locations spanning the subtropical farming systems of eastern Australia. We found significant variation in the system WUE ($/ha/mm) amongst crop sequences, with common crop sequences in each location found to be 12-40% less WUE than the best crop sequence. Cropping intensity is a key driver of system profitability and risk, more so than a mix of crops used. Crop systems with higher intensities (i.e. less time in fallow) have higher average profitability but also higher risk; conversely, crop systems with longer fallows have a lower risk but there are trade-offs of lower long-term gross margins. It is critical to match cropping intensity to the environment to optimise the risk-return trade-offs. Lower crop intensities (0.5-0.75 crops/yr) are optimal in harsher environments (e.g. western districts), moderate crop intensities (0.75-1.0 crops/yr) in the moderate environments, but crop systems with higher crop intensities (1.0-1.3 crops/yr) are optimal in higher rainfall environments.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Business groups:Crop and Food Science
Keywords:Modelling, risk, gross margin, climate variability
Subjects:Science > Statistics > Simulation modelling
Science > Botany > Genetics
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural meteorology. Crops and climate
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Methods and systems of culture. Cropping systems
Deposited On:05 Feb 2020 03:04
Last Modified:05 Feb 2020 03:04

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