Cotton crop phenology in a new temperature regime

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Journal Article
Ecological Modelling, 2014, 285 pp. 22 - 29
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The daily outputs of the CSIRO Conformal Cubic Atmospheric Model driven by four general circulationmodels (GCMs) were used by a stochastic weather generator, LARS-WG, to construct four local climatechange scenarios (CCSs) at nine key cotton production areas in eastern Australia. These CCSs were thenlinked to daily temperature-driven models of cotton phenology to examine the magnitude of the effectsof increased temperature on the initiation and duration of key crop phenophases and on the occurrenceof heat stress and cold shocks during the growing season. The results show that when using 1st Oct. assowing time (1) the timing of emergence, 1st square, 1st flower and 1st open boll advanced 19, 413,514 and 816 days, respectively, for the period centred on 2030 compared to baseline; (2) when cropswere planted 10 days earlier, the emergence stage occurred earlier in most of the locations while otherphenological events changed slightly (~1 day) in comparison with 1st Oct. sowing; when crops wereplanted 10 days later, all these events were generally delayed (~1.5 days) in comparison with 1st Oct.sowing; (3) the timing of the last effective square, last effective flower and last harvestable boll weredelayed 712, 69 and 39 days, respectively, across locations (except St George) and GCMs; (4) the fruitdevelopment period increased up to 23 weeks; (5) the number of hot days increased across all locationsand growing season (GS) months except May with the warmer months (Dec., Jan. and Feb.) and locationsincreased more; and (6) the number of cold shocks decreased or remained the same across locationsand GS months except Jan. and Feb. with cold months and places decreased more. The results show thatthere will be less impact of cold temperatures on earlier growth and potentially a longer growing seasonthat can improve crop yield. However, there will be more incidences of hot days impacting growth, andmore rapid crop development in late phenological stages (especially during boll filling) that may limit theopportunities associated with increases in growing season length without adjustments in management.
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