Research the key to successful cotton at Dunedoo9 Oct 2018
A first try at cotton last season on the Talbragar Park property at Dunedoo in central western New South Wales came after years of research and preparation.
James Frampton said when they purchased the property seven years ago their Quirindi agronomist flagged that it could grow cotton.
“We put in a weather station about three years ago and researched if we had enough growing hours to physically grow the crop in this new environment, Mr Frampton said.
He said the switch to cotton was made, in part, because of the good prices on offer, but also to bring another crop into the rotation.
“We've grown a lot of sorghum and grass weeds were a real issue. We were running into problems with herbicide resistance with the grasses so we had to make a real change and cotton was the obvious choice.”
Three applications of Roundup Ready® with PLANTSHIELD® were applied in-crop and did an excellent job of controlling a range of weeds including liverseed and barnyard grass.
Cotton was planted under a pivot alongside a ryegrass pivot that fed fat lambs over the summer.
Mr Frampton said, “There's been no issue fitting cotton into the very diverse operation on our farm.”
He said preparation was king along with following their agronomist’s advice closely throughout the season.
“I had very little experience with cotton before planting it. But coming into the industry now with Bollgard® 3, insect control has been an easy job. We only had two sprays early on for mirids.
“On the whole, growing cotton has been really enjoyable because it’s a crop where you can come and see something change every day. You can see a new node or see the bolls are forming or cracking. It’s definitely a very interesting crop to grow.”
Mr Frampton said he was concerned about spray drift coming into the cotton crop and had regular contact with other farmers in the area.
“We had spray drift days well before we planted, trying to speak to the neighbours and we were very inclusive. We didn't thrust it upon our neighbours without telling them.”
He said anyone looking at cotton should get some good data about their area and advice from an experienced agronomist.
Mr Frampton said Dean Whitton from Monsanto also provided good information in the lead-up to planting and through the season.
"I'm pretty confident we will plant cotton again next year. I think it will fit well into our program.”