Recent research into the effects of climate change and extreme weather events on Australian cotton systems

Katie Broughton1, Michael Bange1,2, David Tissue2

1 CSIRO Agriculture and Food, LMB 59, Narrabri, NSW, 2390,

2 Western Sydney University, LMB 1797, Penrith, NSW, 2751


Climate change may have significant impacts on the physiology and yield of cotton. Understanding the implications of integrated environmental impacts on Australian cotton systems is critical for developing management solutions resilient to stress induced by climate change. Uniquely, Australian cotton systems are characterised by high input/high yielding intensively managed systems which may lead to challenges not seen in other research on climate change in cotton. This study combined (1) an analysis of temperature trends throughout key Australian cotton regions, and (2) an investigation into the integrated effect of warmer temperature and elevated [CO2] on physiology and growth of cotton grown in high-input field conditions. The research has demonstrated an increased accumulation of day degrees across a number of important cotton regions from 1957 to 2017, indicating season long temperature effects. This study found that although there was no difference in total biomass between the three treatments, cotton grown at warmer temperatures had greater vegetative biomass and less fruit biomass than the control. Thus, climate change will potentially cause significant rank growth, reducing yield and water use efficiency. Further research is currently investigating whether the recommendation for use of growth regulators to control excessive vegetative growth will need revision for future climates.


The Australian Society of Agronomy is the professional body for agronomists in Australia. It has approximately 500 active members drawn from government, universities, research organisations and the private sector.

Photo Credits

David Marland Photography Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, Charles Sturt University

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