Climatic Change

, Volume 129, Issue 1–2, pp 183–196 | Cite as

Quantifying the response of cotton production in eastern Australia to climate change

  • Allyson WilliamsEmail author
  • Neil White
  • Shahbaz Mushtaq
  • Geoff Cockfield
  • Brendan Power
  • Louis Kouadio


The paper evaluates the effect of future climate change (as per the CSIRO Mk3.5 A1FI future climate projection) on cotton yield in Southern Queensland and Northern NSW, eastern Australia by using of the biophysical simulation model APSIM (Agricultural Production Systems sIMulator). The simulations of cotton production show that changes in the influential meteorological parameters caused by climate change would lead to decreased future cotton yields without the effect of CO2 fertilisation. By 2050 the yields would decrease by 17 %. Including the effects of CO2 fertilisation ameliorates the effect of decreased water availability and yields increase by 5.9 % by 2030, but then decrease by 3.6 % in 2050. Importantly, it was necessary to increase irrigation amounts by almost 50 % to maintain adequate soil moisture levels. The effect of CO2 was found to have an important positive impact of the yield in spite of deleterious climate change. This implies that the physiological response of plants to climate change needs to be thoroughly understood to avoid making erroneous projections of yield and potentially stifling investment or increasing risk.


Future Climate Scenario Cotton Yield Murray Darling Basin Daily Climate Data A1FI Scenario 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was part of a larger unpublished study by White N, Mushtaq S, Cockfield G, Power B in 2012 “Relocation of intensive agriculture to northern Queensland: the cotton industry”. The climate change data was sourced from the Queensland Government SILO database ( The SILO database, previously operated by QCCCE, is now operated by DSITIA.


  1. ABARE (2012) Agricultural commodities: March quarter. Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource EconomicsGoogle Scholar
  2. Ainsworth EA, Long SP (2005) What have we learned from 15 years of free‐air CO2 enrichment (FACE)? A meta‐analytic review of the responses of photosynthesis, canopy properties and plant production to rising CO2. New Phytol 165(2):351–372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Attavanich W, McCarl B (2014) How is CO2 affecting yields and technological progress? A statistical analysis. Clim Chang 124:747–762CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bange M (2007) Effects of climate change on cotton growth and development. Aust Cottongrower 28(3):41Google Scholar
  5. Bange M, Constable G (2008) Cotton farming systems for a changing climate. In: Proceedings of the 14th Australian Cotton Conference, 2008. pp 12–14Google Scholar
  6. Bange M, Milroy S (2004) Impact of short-term exposure to cold night temperatures on early development of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.). Crop Pasture Sci 55(6):655–664CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bange M, Constable G, McRae D, Roth G (2010) Cotton. In: Stokes C, M Howden M (eds) Adapting agriculture to climate change: preparing Australian agriculture, forestry and fisheries for the future’. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp 49–66Google Scholar
  8. Boothe KJ, Jones JW, White JW, Asseng S, Lizaso JI (2013) Putting mechanisms into crop production models. Plant Cell Environ 36(9):1658–1672CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Burgess S, Ricketts J, Panjkov A, Carter J, Day K (2012) Consistent climate scenarios project user guide: ‘change factor’ and ‘Quantile-matching’ based climate projections dataGoogle Scholar
  10. Cox H, Rodriguez D, deVoil P, Power B (2011) Modelling adaptation options for a Western Queensland mixed grain and graze farm–evaluating enterprise options under climate change. In: 5th World Congress on Conservation Agriculture and Farming Systems Design, 2011. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, pp 1–4Google Scholar
  11. Delgrosso S, Mosier A, Parton W, Ojima D (2005) DAYCENT model analysis of past and contemporary soil NO and net greenhouse gas flux for major crops in the USA. Soil Tillage Res 83:9–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fuss S, Canadell JG, Peters GP et al (2014) Betting on negative emissions. Nat Clim Chang 4:850–853CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Garnaut R (2008) The Garnaut climate change review. Glob Environ Chang 13:1–5Google Scholar
  14. Garnaut R (2011) The Garnaut review 2011: Australia in the global response to climate change. Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. Gerardeaux E, Sultan B, Palai O et al (2013) Positive effect of climate change on cotton in 2050 by CO2 enrichment and conservation agriculture in Cameroon. Agron Sustain Dev 33:485–495CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gifford RM (2004) The CO2 fertilising effect - does it occur in the real world? New Phytol 163(2):221–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hearn AB (1994) OZCOT: a simulation model for cotton crop management. Agric Syst 44:257–299CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hearn A, Constable G (1984) Irrigation for crops in a sub-humid environment VII. Evaluation of irrigation strategies for cotton. Irrig Sci 5(2):75–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Heberger M (2011) Australia’s millennium drought: impacts and responses. In The World’s Water (pp. 97–125). Island Press/Center for Resource EconomicsGoogle Scholar
  20. IPCC (2014) In: Field CB, Barros VR, Dokken DJ, Mach KJ, Mastrandrea MD, Bilir TE, Chatterjee M, Ebi KL, Estrada YO, Genova RC, Girma B, Kissel ES, Levy AN, MacCracken S, Mastrandrea PR, White LL (eds) Climate change 2014: impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. Part A: global and sectoral aspects. contribution of working group ii to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1132Google Scholar
  21. Jeffrey SJ, Carter JO, Moodie KB, Beswick AR (2001) Using spatial interpolation to construct a comprehensive archive of Australian climate data. Environ Model Softw 16(4):309–330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jones GV, Webb LB (2010) Climate change, viticulture, and wine: challenges and opportunities. J Wine Res 21(2–3):103–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jones JW, Hoogenboom G, Porter CH et al (2003) The DSSAT cropping system model. Crop Sci 18:235–265Google Scholar
  24. Karl TR, Melillo JM, Peterson TC (2009) Global climate change impacts in the United States. Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  25. Keating BA, Carberry PS, Hammer GL et al (2003) An overview of APSIM, a model designed for farming systems simulation. Eur J Agron 18(3):267–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kirby M, Bark R, Connor J, Qureshi ME, Keyworth S (2014) Sustainable irrigation: how did irrigated agriculture in Australia’s Murray–Darling Basin adapt in the Millennium Drought?. Agricultural Water ManagementGoogle Scholar
  27. Lee J, De Gryze S, Six J (2011) Effect of climate change on field crop production in California’s Central Valley. Clim Chang 109:335–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Long SP, Ainsworth EA, Rogers A, Ort DR (2004) Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide: plants FACE the future. Annu Rev Plant Biol 55:591–628CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Luo Q (2011) Temperature thresholds and crop production: a review. Clim Chang 109:583–598CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Luo Q, Bange M, Clancy L (2014) Cotton crop phenology in a new temperature regime. Ecol Model 285:22–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mauney JR, Kimball BA, Pinter PJ Jr et al (1994) Growth and yield of cotton in response to a free-air carbon dioxide enrichment (FACE) environment. Agric For Meteorol 70(19):49–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. McRae D, Roth G, Bange M (2007) Climate change in cotton catchment communities a Scoping Study. Cotton Catchment Communities CRCGoogle Scholar
  33. Mitchell TD (2003) Pattern scaling: an examination of the accuracy of the technique for describing future climates. Clim Chang 60(3):217–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Moore AD, Ghahramani A (2013) Climate change and broadacre livestock production across southern Australia. 1. Impacts of climate change on pasture and livestock productivity, and on sustainable levels of profitability. Glob Chang Biol 19(5):1440–1455CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Murray Darling Basin Authority (2010) Guide to the proposed Basin Plan. Murray-Darling Basin AuthorityGoogle Scholar
  36. Nakicenovic N, Swat R (2000) Special report on emissions scenarios. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p 612Google Scholar
  37. Page CM, Jones RN (2001) OzClim: the development of a climate scenario generator for Australia, In: Proceedings of MODSIM 2001: International Congress on Modelling and Simulation, pp 667–671Google Scholar
  38. Park S (2008) A review of climate change impact and adaptation assessments on the Australian sugarcane industry. Proc Aust Soc Sugar Cane Technol 2008:1–9Google Scholar
  39. Pinter PJ Jr, Kimball BA, Mauncy JR et al (1994) Effects of free-air carbon dioxide enrichment on PAR absorption and conversion efficiency by cotton. Agric For Meteorol 70(1):209–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Potgieter A, Meinke H, Doherty A et al (2013) Spatial impact of projected changes in rainfall and temperature on wheat yields in Australia. Clim Chang 117(1–2):163–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Quiggin J, Adamson D, Chambers S, Schrobback P (2010) Climate change, uncertainty, and adaptation: the case of irrigated agriculture in the Murray–Darling Basin in Australia. Can J Agric Econ/Rev Can d’agroeconomie 58(4):531–554CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Reddy K, Hodges H, McKinion J (1995) Carbon dioxide and temperature effects on pima cotton growth. Agric Ecosyst Environ 54(1):17–29Google Scholar
  43. Reddy K, Hodges H, McKinion J (1996) Can cotton crops be sustained in future climates? In: Beltwide Cotton Conferences (USA), 1996Google Scholar
  44. Reddy KR, Hodges HF, Kimball BA (2000) Crop ecosystem responses to global climate change: cotton. In: Reddy KR, Hodges HF (eds) Climate change and global crop productivity. CAB International, Wallingford, pp 162–187Google Scholar
  45. Ricketts JH (2009). OzClim for the MTSRF region. 18th World IMACS/MODSIM Congress, Cairns, Australia 13–17 July 2009Google Scholar
  46. Schlenker W, Roberts MJ (2009) Nonlinear temperature effects indicate severe damages to US crop yields under climate change. Proc Natl Acad Sci 106(37):15594–15598CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Smith I, Chandler E (2010) Refining rainfall projections for the Murray Darling Basin of south-east Australia—the effect of sampling model results based on performance. Clim Chang 102(3–4):377–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Solomon S, Qin D, Manning M, Chen Z, Marquis M, Averyt K, Tignor M, Miller HL (2007) IPCC, 2007: climate change 2007: the physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. SD Solomon (Ed)Google Scholar
  49. Stokes C, Howden M (2010) Adapting agriculture to climate change: preparing Australian agriculture, forestry and fisheries for the future. CSIRO PUBLISHING, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  50. Stubbs J (2010). Stubbs report 4: exploring the relationship between community resilience and irrigated agriculture in the MDB: social and economic impacts of reduced irrigation waterGoogle Scholar
  51. Suppiah R, Hennessy KJ, Whetton PH et al (2007) Australian climate change projections derived from simulations performed for the IPCC 4th Assessment Report. Aust Meteorol Mag 56(3):131–152Google Scholar
  52. Watterson IG (2012) Understanding and partitioning future climates for Australian regions from CMIP3 using ocean warming indices. Clim Chang 111:903–922CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Whetton P, Katzfey J, Hennessy K et al (2001) Developing scenarios of climate change for southeastern Australia: an example using regional climate model output. Clim Res 16(3):181–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Whetton P, McInnes K, Jones R, Hennessy K, Suppiah R, Page C, Bathols J, Durack P (2005) Climate change projections for Australia for impact assessment and policy application: A review. CSIRO Technical PaperGoogle Scholar
  55. Yang Y, Yang Y, Han S, Macadam I, Liu DL (2014) Prediction of cotton yield and water demand under climate change and future adaptation measures. Agric Water Manag 144:42–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allyson Williams
    • 1
    Email author
  • Neil White
    • 2
  • Shahbaz Mushtaq
    • 1
  • Geoff Cockfield
    • 1
  • Brendan Power
    • 2
  • Louis Kouadio
    • 1
  1. 1.International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences, Institute of Agriculture and Environment, University of Southern QueenslandUniversity of Southern QueenslandToowoombaAustralia
  2. 2.AgriScience -Queensland—Department of AgricultureFisheries and ForestryToowoombaAustralia

Personalised recommendations