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ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Research Project #439128

Research Project: Collaborative Research and Outreach to Facilitate Cotton Production in Thermo-limited Regions of the Southern Ogallala Aquifer Region- Texas Tech

Location: Soil and Water Management Research

Project Number: 3090-13000-016-052-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2020
End Date: Aug 31, 2025

The focus of this research is to conduct long-term research for irrigated cotton production in thermo-limited regions of the northern Texas Panhandle and Southwest Kansas. This will be accomplished by: 1) developing cotton production recommendations through a multi-disciplinary systems approach in thermo-limited regions; 2) transferring technology and expanding the expertise in cotton research being conducted in the Texas area to Southwest Kansas; and 3) creating an industry advisory group to provide input regarding our research objectives and outcomes.

A review of literature will first be conducted to analyze climate (especially heat units and diurnal conditions) anticipated throughout the growing season for multiple locations in the region to determine experimental planting dates. Cotton production in the Texas Panhandle and Southwest Kansas will be compared across locations in this study. We will evaluate 3 populations (74,000, 124,000, and 173,000 plants per ha), 2 planting dates, 3 varieties (early, medium-early, and medium), and 2 irrigation levels at two locations in Texas and Southwest Kansas. Planting dates and varieties will be evaluated at four other sites at a planting density of 124,000 seedlings per ha. Irrigation levels will represent full irrigation and a deficit irrigation scheme whereby full irrigation is only applied at a strategic growth stage. Campbell Scientific weather stations will be placed at all locations. Plots will be hand harvested. Fiber quality will be determined. After first square, data regarding flower and seed set will be collected weekly. At harvest, plots will be hand harvested by fruiting position for whole plant and within boll yield components. These data will be utilized to document early season vegetative growth, the rate and timing of cutout, and the location and yield contribution of the last effective boll population. Soil water measurements will be made at critical growth stages (emergence, pinhead square, first bloom, full bloom, first cracked boll, and harvest) in all Bushland plots. Soil water measurements will be collected using a neutron moisture gage. The economics and expected relative profitability of irrigated cotton will be evaluated in this project. Historical crop enterprise budgets for irrigated cotton will be examined, along with current projected costs and returns. Projected farmer-level cotton budget estimates will be developed. Economic impact of cotton production will be determined using IMPLAN. A risk/reward profitability simulation comparing yield from optimal management for cotton, corn, and sorghum as identified by field trials will be conducted. The risks and insurance implications (premiums, simulation of potential indemnities, etc.) will be models and evaluated. The extension team will: 1. Leverage existing Extension technology transfer networks and medias; 2. Develop “train the trainer” resources; 3. Apply a systems approach to address production issues; 4. Update existing and create new technical bulletins and Extension material. The industry advisory group (IAG) will be critical to the success of this project. The IAG will help define the research needed and ensure it is relevant to the agriculture producer and industry groups. The IAG will consist of representatives from grower associations (Southern Kansas Cotton Growers Cooperative, Inc), banking, cooperatives, and marketing associations (Plains Cotton Cooperative Association).