Cotton continues to be the summer crop of choice in Southern NSW, as forecasts suggest that cotton will surpass rice as the largest irrigated crop in the area this season.
CSD Extension and Development Agronomist for Southern NSW, Jorian Millyard says that there could be an increase in the planting area of 15,000 hectares above last season.
“Our water allocation is strong, and with current returns per megalitre and per hectare being very positive for cotton, growth in the south has once again been highly favoured.
“Growers are continuing to see the benefits of cotton with the introduction of the latest high yielding, high quality varieties, combined with improvements in crop management and technology. These factors are all making cotton easier to grow and facilitating expansion into newer production areas, such as Deniliquin, Horsham, Warragoon, Barham and Durham.”
Many existing growers are also planting more than previous years, despite the challenges of last season.
“Last season we saw wet conditions cause delays in planting, and extreme heat later in the season resulting in lower yields than many growers had hoped,” said Jorian.
“The average yield in this area was 9.5 bales per hectare.
“This season, the drier winter has provided ample opportunity for early ground preparation to take place, and enabled growers to to take advantage of the planting window, which commenced for many in mid September."
Planting is almost three-quarters complete, with some cotton already emerging and establishing well, with very little seedling disease.
To support this industry expansion, Monsanto and CSD have collaborated to develop a new grower web resource, www.acresofopportunity.com.au
. This website provides growers with up to date information on growing cotton and is an ideal place to start for anyone wanting to learn more about growing cotton.
Once again, CSD’s Extension and Development Agronomy team have an extensive trial program planned, to look at the challenges these new areas bring. In-depth studies of the performance of different cotton varieties, management programs, and new insecticide and fungicide options will be conducted throughout the season.