Technological Efficiency Gains in Irrigated Cotton Production

Susan E. Watson, Eduardo Segarra, Mark Yu, Hong Li, Robert Lascano, Kevin Bronson, Jill Booker

Abstract


Precision farming technology in irrigated cotton production has the potential to precisely manage inputs and outputs.  This success of this technology depends on the economic efficiencies gained over traditional whole-field farming.  The overall objective of this study was to evaluate the profitability of precision farming and optimal decision rules for production of cotton in the Southern High Plains of Texas.  A dynamic optimization model with a nitrate-nitrogen carryover function allowed for the derivation of optimal input application levels, yield, and net present value of returns (NPVR).  On the average, precision farming increased yield and NPVR by 4.01% and 4.50%, respectively, as compared to whole-field farming.  However, precision farming also used 0.1564% more nitrogen application on the average.  Yield and net present value of returns also had less variability under precision farming management practices.  This study suggests that nitrogen fertilizer can be used more efficiently to maximize NPVR under precision farming.

Keywords


cotton economics; mathematical optimization; precision farming; technology adoption; cotton

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