17th AUGUST 2016

Getting ready for the season

While many in the industry were at the Australian Cotton Conference last fortnight, some growers in our region were busy preparing to plant or planting to take advantage of the unseasonably warm winter. Bollgard 3 has seen Central Queensland’s planting window extended, allowing growers to plant cotton from 1 August to 31 December.

In previous months, Paul Grundy organised a planting date workshop where research and grower experiences on planting at different times were shared to assist growers and farm managers in their decision making on planting dates. For those who did not receive the take-home workshop information distributed in previous weeks, please contact Sharna.
Please ensure that your agronomists/consultants and preferred distributors know when you are planting (particularly if contemplating late sowing) in relation to quantities and timing to ensure they can cover your needs throughout the season and you are not waiting for seed to be delivered.
Steve Yeates (CSIRO) presenting to growers and consultants at the planting date workshop held in Emerald - ‘Will the future be high performance cotton, or stable in all conditions?’

Welshy's CQ weather forecast

Although the La Niña may not fully develop, the waters to the north of Australia and east to the Coral Sea are very warm potentially supplying convective moisture to inland areas.

A quick survey of models to mid-September shows rain events on and off for the next four week period. For those planting summer crop the outlook looks coolish so planting could be under pressure.

Looking now at the SOI, it remains in neutral territory and the phase prediction is pretty much sitting on the fence with a 50% chance of being wetter or drier. This is at odds to most of the global seasonal models showing increased chance of spring rainfall. Keep an eye on the fresh model summary out in the next CottonInfo Moisture Manager.

Jon Welsh, CottonInfo climate technical specialist
Each fortnight, CottonInfo and Jon issue a Moisture Manager e-newsletter bringing you the latest weather forecasts and predictions from the leading weather models. You can sign up for the newsletter or previous editions of the CottonInfo by clicking here.

Early sown cotton and establishment

Proper planting practices are crucial to success. The first fortnight of August has significant frost and cold shocks while the second fortnight is much safer. Sowing early August may not provide a net advantage compared to sowing in mid-August.

However the internet can be your best tool for figuring out the right time to plant; cross check various weather outlooks and the CSD soil temperature probe network.  

The models that CottonInfo climate technical specialist, Jon Welsh, uses for looking for multi-week trends and model consensus include:
The management of early sowings is different to all other planting dates. Management should be focused on maximising canopy expansion through irrigation, nutrition and insect management. If you have a field history of Fusarium or other seedling diseases it is strongly recommended not to plant earlier than 20 August due to the risk of cold shocks as these diseases favour cool and wet growing conditions. For this reason fields with a history of Fusarium should be planted last.

We will be providing more information about management tactics for August planted crops in September.
Monitoring the nutrient status of your fields is essential for optimising yields and fertiliser correctly. The CottASSIST NutriLOGIC aids growers in cotton nutrient management. It helps interpret soil and leaf analyses for all major nutrients and indicates when fertiliser application may be warranted.
CHCG&IA Awards Night
The Central Highlands Cotton Growers & Irrigators Association (CHCG&IA) held their annual awards night in July. Thommo and Len Pascoe entertained with stories while the band kept the dance floor moving. Thank you to the dinner and awards committee who put together the event and congratulations to the following award recipients: 

CHCG&IA Irrigator Service to Industry Award: Denis Kiely

Denis was awarded the Central Highlands Cotton Growers & Irrigation Association Service to Industry Award for his efforts as a grower to go above and beyond to provide service to the broader industry. Denis has educated the wider community about cotton production and agriculture by opening up his family farm and showing school students, teachers and parents how to grow cotton and other crops. Kielys Farm has not only been an educational resource for the local community but reached much further to educate international tourists and provide a fantastic tourist attraction for our region.

Iain Mackay Memorial Service to Industry Award (sponsored by CGS): Danni Ingram

Danni started at Cotton Growers Services in 2006 and immediately became involved in activities to support the industry that were beyond her role. She has been able to share information so that researchers and other organisations can make better decisions to benefit the region. Throughout her time in Emerald, she has quietly volunteered much time with many association and industry activities such as Teach the Teacher and the Cotton Dinner Committee.

Quality Award:
– Avondale Farming – Anne, Robert and Danni Ingram
2nd – Arcturus Pty Ltd - Sam and Lizzie Bradford
3rd – Deneliza Downs - Denis and Liz Kiely

The quality award results were determined by a grower’s quality with four parameters; colour (percentage in 11, 21 range), mirconaire (percentage in G5B and G5C range), length (percentage in 38+) and strength (percentage in 28+gms/tex).

Yield Award
DC & J McCullagh, with 12.15 bale average
2nd Mosely Farming, with 11.64 bale average
3rd – CH & RL Morawitz, with 10.98 bale average

The highest average yields were based on the official TUA provided by Monsanto and ginned bales.

Congratulations to all growers this season, with many growers having fields yielding in excess of 13 bales.
(Photos: Twitter @blugdogagCQ, Liz Alexander)
Have you checked out the CottonInfo YouTube page?
CottonInfo’s YouTube channel has over 85 videos on scientifically based crop production, protection and best practice principles. Topics covered range from pre-season planter maintenance and planting tips through to climate risk management. The videos have collectively received over 16,000 views.
Check out the latest CottonInfo video inspired by James Bond here.
2015 – 2016 Cotton Growing Practices: Findings of CRDC’s survey of cotton growers
The Cotton Growing Practices survey gathered valuable information about cotton farming practices to give greater understanding of the industry’s current practices and performance in a number of key areas for the 2015 – 2016 cotton crop. This survey particularly focused on seasonal management, managing limited water, replant and damaged cotton and mining exploration wells. The 2015 – 2016 Cotton Growing Practices survey was conducted by Roth Rural on behalf of CRDC.
Faces of Australian Cotton: Central Queensland finalists
Cotton Australia’s Faces of Australian Cotton photography competition was judged and announced last fortnight at the Australian Cotton Conference. Over 600 entries were received and it was great to see some Central Queensland faces and photographers as finalists in the competition.

Congratulations to Greg Kauter and Michelle Hutchinson for reaching the finals with their fantastic photographs below.

Greg Kauter, Woollahra NSW
Category 1 (Aussie cotton growers and industry personnel)
‘Queensland sown and grown’
Michelle Hutchinson, Moura Queensland
Category 2 (Aussie cotton families)
‘Cotton apprentice’
The aim of this regional publication is to provide you with timely and relevant crop management information as well as keeping you abreast of cotton research going on in Central Queensland. If you have any feedback, questions or ideas for future topics please get in touch.

Sharna Holman
Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and CottonInfo
0477 394 116 or

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