Climate, energy and business analysis for cotton growers (including CottonInfo technical lead)
This project has undertaken extensive climate analysis and extension to help cotton growers manage risk in their businesses. The CottonInfo Moisture Manager is published monthly and showed good engagement with analytics showing high open rates throughout the project term. Climate risk was also presented to students enrolled in the UNE cotton production course annually. Ag Econ also helped direct cross-sectoral research via FWFA and MCV research projects, with a published study on changes in summer rainfall focusing on cotton-growing regions a highlight. A range of economic analyses was undertaken on farming practices alongside routine Gross Margin tasks throughout this project including: cotton picker investment analysis - buy or contract?, enhanced efficiency and fertiliser best practice analysis, irrigation water benchmarking, and two studies on emerging opportunities for grower participation in biodiversity markets. While AE2101 is an analysis-based project, e-news analytics for economic analysis showed good industry engagement as evidenced by record open rates and click-through's for the cotton picker analysis. Energy technology benefit-cost studies identified three possible investment areas to reduce emissions and lower energy cost: micro-hydro in irrigation, floating solar PV to offset pumping costs and save water and floating solar PV used to offset cotton ginning energy costs and produce green ammonia. While these results found reduced emissions and tardi investment returns in some cases, changes in future energy costs and growing demand for sustainable cotton may see these opportunities implemented in the future.