Rain is the major limiter of cotton yields on the Southern High Plains of Texas. Rain can be analyzed in terms of its effect on the crop. An “agro-centric rain” analysis assesses the amounts and timing of rain events within a defined management system. Cotton on the Southern High Plains of Texas at Lubbock, TX, USA was analyzed in terms of the crop water environment associated with 70 potential cotton crop seasons over the period from 2006 to 2015. For the 10-year period, the 238-day cotton growing season was divided into seven potential cotton crop seasons of 154-days each. Rain and crop water status (as reference and crop evapotranspiration) were calculated for each of the 70 potential cotton crop seasons. The highest rain amounts were associated with earlier plantings. Maximum values of reference evapotranspiration were associated with the mid-season plantings and minimum values with the earliest and latest plantings. Crop stress (rain-reference evapotranspiration) showed a pattern with maximum stress associated with the earliest plantings. Crop water status across potential cotton crop seasons can vary with planting date across years and it may be possible to exploit the variation to improve yield in terms of germplasm and management practices.
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