Project Summaries

07-134  Project Manager: J. M. Reeves

DEVELOPMENT OF DECISION SUPPORT SOFTWARE TO EVALUATE COTTON PICKING VERSUS COTTON STRIPPING HARVEST ALTERNATIVES

Lawrence Falconer, Texas AgriLife Extension Service

This project addresses a very important economic decision faced by cotton producers in the United States. In many cases, the costs of purchasing and applying chemical harvest aids, harvesting and putting cotton in modules and ginning comprise more than one third of the total direct costs of producing cotton. So decisions at this phase of production can have a significant impact on cost. In addition, alternative harvest methods do have significant impacts on yield and cotton quality.

This project was designed to develop and maintain a Windows-based computer program to support calculation of alternative defoliation costs, harvest efficiencies, and cotton quality with respect to alternative harvest methods. This study developed a spreadsheet-based decision support aid that incorporates producer specific input costs to evaluate economic outcomes from alternative harvest methods.

The Cotton Harvest Cost Comparison Program is a Microsoft Excel template that allows the producer or applied researcher to price in different defoliation cost structures based on alternative harvest methods, different custom or ownership cost structures for pickers and strippers, different turnouts based on alternative harvest methods, different ginning cost based on harvest method and quality differentials based on harvest method. Using this input, a partial budgeting technique is used to allow a producer or applied researcher to analyze the cost and returns of two different harvest methods.

The first version of the Cotton Harvest Cost Comparison Program was completed. This version included the capability to produce graphs that allow the producer or applied researcher to compare alternative defoliation, harvest and ginning cost on a per acre basis as well as a graphical comparison of those costs on a lint pound basis. This program also provides a graphical comparison of net returns above harvest cost on a per acre basis. In addition, the program provides the producer or applied researcher an estimate of the "break even" change in pounds of lint needed to equate the two proposed harvest alternatives. The second version was also completed. The objective of the study will be reached by creating a Microsoft Excel template that allows a producer to price in different defoliation cost structures based on the harvest method, different custom or ownership cost structures for pickers and strippers, different turnouts based on harvest methods, different ginning costs based on harvest method and quality differentials based on harvest method. Using this input, a partial budgeting technique will be employed to allow a producer or applied researcher to compare the costs and returns of these two different harvest methods. Also, a users' guide was developed. This decision support aid will be demonstrated at regional meetings of agricultural economists, farm management specialists, and cotton industry meetings. The decision support aid and supporting documentation will be made available over the Internet and by direct request from the principal investigator, and at www.cottoninc.com. In 2012, a third version of this decision aid included the new cotton harvesters available from Case IH and John Deere. This is now completed and is available on www.cottoninc.com.

 

Project Year: 2012
 

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