Know your soil type

8 Golden Rules of dryland cotton


Know your soil type


Plant available water capacity (PAWC) > 180 mm in top 1.5 m of soil.

  • Know how big the bucket of soil moisture is - a critical component to achieving a successful cotton crop.
  • This requirement may change depending on rainfall reliability and the seasonal forecast.
  • This moisture bank can be vital in years when there is below average rainfall.

Know the nutrient status, location and availability within the profile.

  • If fertiliser is required, it will need to be applied prior to planting. There is limited opportunity to apply fertiliser to areas where it will be utilised post establishment of the crop.
  • Many dryland cotton farmers do not apply fertiliser. They utilise the soil’s natural pool and residual fertiliser from previous rotation crops.
  • The large tap root of the cotton plant enables it to explore the soil profile and access fertiliser and nutrients outside the range of other crops.