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Abstract

Context

Production of rainfed (dryland) cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) occurs in many places globally, and is always burdened with greater uncertainties in outcomes than irrigated cotton. Assessing farm financial viability helps farmers to make clearer and more informed decisions with a fuller awareness of the potential risks to their business.

Aim

We aimed to highlight key points of uncertainty common in rainfed cotton production and quantify these variable conditions to facilitate clearer decision-making on sowing dates and row configurations.

Methods

The consequences of these decisions at six locations across two states in Australia, given estimates of plant-available water at sowing, are expressed in terms of comparable probability distributions of cotton lint yield (derived from crop modelling using historical weather data) and gross margin per hectare (derived from historical prices for inputs and cotton lint yield), using the copula approach. Examples of contrasting conditions and likely outcomes are summarised.

Key results

Sowing at the end of October with solid row configuration tended to provide the highest yield; however, single- and double-skip row configurations generally resulted in higher gross margins. Places associated with higher summer-dominant rainfall had greater chance of positive gross margins.

Conclusion

In order to maximise the probability of growing a profitable crop, farmers need to consider the variabilities and dependencies within and across price and yield before selecting the most appropriate agronomic decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1223-1237
Number of pages15
JournalCrop and Pasture Science
Volume74
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 09 May 2023

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