Farm Table says:
This report shows the findings of CRDC’s Survey of Cotton Growers, conducted in Spring 2016.
The survey sample:
- 176 growers (representing 35% of the irrigated and 15% of the dryland 2015-16 crop area)
- 2015-16 cotton – a year of limited water with a long, hot, dry finish
- The average cotton yield was 12.4 bales/ha for irrigated cotton, 6.4 bales/ha for partially irrigated and 3.6 bales/ha for dryland.
- Quality discounts were received on 35% of irrigated cotton farms (average $25.10, range $0.18 to
- $130), 44% of partially irrigated (average $14.90, range $2 to $40) and 64% of dryland (average
- $31.60, range $0.50 to $110).
- Colour, length, and leaf were the most common causes of quality downgrades.
- Quality premiums were received on 28% of irrigated farms (average $2.10, range $0.03 to $10), 20% of partially irrigated (average $3.90, range $1.30 to $10) and 3% of dryland (average $1.27).
- Whole farm irrigation water usage was on average 8 ML/ha on fully irrigated and 3 ML/ha on
partially irrigated, giving a calculated average irrigation water use efficiency of 1.8 bales/ML on irrigated and 2.7 bales/ML on partially irrigated cotton.
Limitations to yield:
- Verticillium wilt – 23% of farms, average 26% estimated yield loss
- Black Root Rot – 13% of farms, average 31% estimated yield loss
- Fusarium Wilt – 14% of farms, average 32% estimated yield loss
- Sclerotinia – 3% of farms, average 5.5% estimated yield loss
- Boll Rot – 11% of farms, average 13% estimated yield loss
- Herbicide spray drift – 30% of farms, average 19% estimated yield loss
- Hail – 22% of farms, average 33% estimated yield loss
- Reniform nematodes, pre-applied herbicide, fertilizer burn, waterlogging, sandblasting, drought and the hot and dry finish were also reported to have limited yields.
Average rates of applied nutrients per ha were:
- Irrigated cotton: 284 kg N, 35 kg P, 34 kg K, 3 kg Zn, 18 kg S
- Partially irrigated: 126 kg N, 39 kg P, 30 kg K, 4 kg Zn, 23 kg S
- Dryland cotton: 78 kg N, 13 kg P, 14 kg K, 2 kg Zn, 8 kg S
The range in fertilizer application rates was large and not strongly correlated with yield.