Application of Soil Monitoring, Benchmarking and Crop Simulation in Commercial Dryland Cotton Management
Jul 31, 2018
Many agronomic decisions involve risk as many of the factors involved are unknown or uncertain (e.g. rainfall). History can often serve as our best guide to the potential risks and benefits of a particular strategy. The use of crop simulation models is a powerful, and often the only, way to address such issues. Participatory research approaches were used to address key issues in dryland cotton management through on-farm trials, crop and soil monitoring, and simulation modelling (OZCOT and APSIM). Model credibility was established through simulation sessions with small groups of farmers. Subsequently the results provided farmers and consultants with information on their soil, benchmarked performance of commercial crops, and provided an assessment of the impact and risk of their management decisions within the context of the whole climate record rather than a single season. The results were also provided to other farmers and consultants through established networks. Future studies aim to investigate the more efficient means of delivering systems simulation to industry.