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ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Research Project #444525

Research Project: Collaborative Research and Outreach to Facilitate Cotton Production in the Thermo-limited Regions of the Southern Ogallala Aquifer - Phase 2 WTAMU

Location: Soil and Water Management Research

Project Number: 3090-13000-016-070-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2023
End Date: Dec 31, 2026

This research is being conducted as a portion of the Ogallala Aquifer Program (OAP), an ARS led multi-university collaborations seeking solutions to decreasing groundwater availability from the Ogallala Aquifer in Western Kansas and on the Texas High Plains. 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: Objective 1: Define best management practices to produce optimum yields of cotton within the region and varying groundwater resources. Objective 2: Document physiological traits that will aid in the development of best management practices. Objective 3: Improve crop growth simulation models and provide improved data bases for those models so that field research results can be extended beyond experimental sites. Objective 4: Develop crop enterprise budgets. Objective 5: Develop integrated models incorporating changing agronomic, hydrogeological, and economic components so resource utilization, and economics can be optimized.

The research conducted under this agreement will on Objectives 2, 3, 4 and 5. Cotton production in the Texas Panhandle and Southwest Kansas will be compared across two to three locations in this study. Campbell Scientific weather stations will be placed at all locations These field sites will be used to evaluate genetic by environment interaction on cotton growth, maturity, and boll development. Nodal development in relation to days after planting (DAP) will be recorded from 10 randomly sampled plants at emergence of first square until maturity. When plants reach a maturity equivalent to Nodes Above White Flower (NAWF) = 5, plants will be tagged in 5 ft of row for 10-14 days. Bolls will be hand harvested at maturity. Boll counts and lint weight by fruiting position will be recorded. Cotton seed lint will be hand ginned by NAWF value and sent to Cotton Inc. for fiber quality analysis. These data will provide insight into early season vegetative growth and when plants reach cutout, that is, last effective flower population that will yield acceptable bolls. Thermal units at each developmental stage will be collected via weather station. Thermal units and growth and maturity data will be used to construct Target Development Curves (TDC). TDC provide an estimate of the effects of seasonal climate trends on cotton growth, maturity, and lint yields. 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 modeled and evaluated.